One of the most challenging parts of running a business is being able to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Since we started RAWSO in 2012, we’ve learned many lessons — some from doing things the right way, and some from doing things the wrong way. Instead of being too proud to reflect on our mistakes, our perspective is that we need to learn from them in order to avoid errors down the line.
When we first opened our doors, an early mistake we made was not delegating responsibilities as much as we should have. It took us longer than it should have to learn that we can’t estimate every job ourselves, we can’t personally manage every project, etc. Of course, it’s hard to delegate too much in the early days of a business, because there’s not much money to play with. What we learned relatively quickly though was that if you hire the right people, they make up the money you pay them in no time — a good employee in the construction industry truly is worth their weight in gold.
As leaders, another piece of advice we would give to the younger versions of ourselves would be to determine our own strengths and weaknesses earlier than we did. Instead of just hiring a bunch of people to fill a variety of roles, we should have focused on hiring specific individuals to fill specific roles. For example, Dylan is a great estimator, but accounting isn’t his strongest suit, so it would have been a good idea in the early days to prioritize hiring accountants over hiring estimators.
It’s also important to note that not every piece of advice we’d give ourselves is directly related to the daily operations of RAWSO Constructors. With that in mind, one thing we wish we’d done earlier is to focus on personal development. For one, we feel like we might have focused on work a bit too much in the early days, and let things like personal health and wellbeing take a back seat. When you’re running a company, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the daily responsibilities that you forget to take care of yourself.
In addition, we’ve found a ton of value in reading about other entrepreneurs in all corners of the business world, taking little tidbits from their stories and applying them to our own work in the construction industry. That’s another thing that’s helped us push this company forward, but that we didn’t make time for until just recently.
When we look back to opening this company in 2012, we obviously made some mistakes along the way. Nobody’s perfect! But the fact that we’ve grown RAWSO to where it is today means we clearly did many things right too. There’s a saying that you learn more from your failures than from your successes, but for some people, it’s difficult to look in the mirror and say, “I could have done better.” Try it sometime — you never know what you might learn about yourself!