“Kaizen” is the phrase of the moment for most startup businesses these days, and it’s easy to understand why. The philosophy speaks to maximized value with minimal waste, something any business owner strives to achieve. In the construction industry, Kaizen, or “lean construction,” is all about identifying the unnecessary factors in the design and building process, reducing the total cost, and streamlining the entire project. We’ve unpacked five ways Kaizen can help your construction business.
[Read More: How To Help Your StartUp Construction Business Grow]
What is Kaizen?
Directly translated from Japanese, Kaizen means “change for better” or “continuous improvement.” As academics and entrepreneurs alike tried to uncover the success of the Toyota Production System in the 20th century, the philosophy of Kaizen started to gain more and more traction. Its inherent characteristics focus on production, but they’ve developed into a new model perfect for the construction industry.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “lean construction” before; this is Kaizen at its best. By integrating the knowledge and insights of the entire construction team, collaborating in the process, design, and material efficiencies of a project, businesses can achieve tangible long-term gains.
The primary goal of Kaizen is to avoid waste; this can be anything from resources to materials on site. By eliminating waste and upping productivity, you’ll reduce costs which is an enormous opportunity for construction startups.
Transforming your business into a “lean” one isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a long-term play that may take some time to implement. Project by project, you’ll start to experience the tangible benefits of Kaizen, creating a company culture that’s desirable to many.
What are the Kaizen principles?
The Kaizen methodology follows five main principles.
- Know your inefficiencies – understanding where your shortfalls are and how you can improve your productivity.
- Zero waste – a company-wide goal to eliminate waste, introducing a new sense of focus.
- Gemba – the Japanese word for “the actual place,” finding your true value as a business.
- Empowering people – creating clear directives and goals, equipping everyone with the tools they need to succeed.
- Transparency – identifying tangible and visible results to highlight continued improvement.
Five Ways Kaizen Can Help Your Construction Business
1. Create organizational buy-in, boosting productivity
Ensuring your organization understands the importance of the Kaizen methodology can generate a sense of ownership and commitment. Instead of operating on a series of solo efforts, there’s a sense of unity, a group buy-in to succeed.
Believe it or not, the employees closest to the issues on the ground are often the best-equipped to solve them. Inefficiencies can be uncovered anywhere. Whether it’s waste on the construction site or a process that’s too time-consuming back at the office, take the time to evaluate every step of the journey. It will become the foundation of your Kaizen efforts, by offering all of your staff the support they need to improve, you’ll be empowering them, boosting morale and productivity.
2. Utilize your current resources
Kaizen focuses on improving your output, utilizing your current resources. Instead of hiring new employees to solve your issues, tackle problems in-house, focusing on continuous small achievements. By making small changes regularly, you’ll eliminate the expensive investment massive improvements tend to require.
Think inside the box, looking at minor adjustments with big rewards. It could be as simple as switching from paper timesheets to a time tracking app like Connecteam or Hubstaff. This would eliminate time cards, streamlining your payroll. Manage your contractors in one place using Knowify, a digital platform where you can do job costing, bid contracts, track your employees’ time, and regulate your flow of paper by going paperless. Small tweaks like this are easy to implement, yet everyone feels their benefit.
3. Improve your quality, cost and schedule
Historically customers have usually had to choose between quality, cost, and schedule. More often than not, forfeiting one of them. Kaizen allows you to achieve all three.
Some of the tools you can use to incorporate lean construction include:
- Target costing – an organizational shift from expected costs to target costs that focuses on delivering customer values within project constraints. Target costing determines the cost of the build before the design period, dictating the design parameters. Traditionally costs were done after the design phase, making it easy to go above budget.
- A3 problem solving and reporting – improving collaboration, outcomes, and problem-solving with concise project updates.
- Set-based design – keeping design options flexible for as long as possible. Rather than selecting one option from the get-go, set-based design looks at a wide range of solutions. It allows you to be more nimble in the event of an unexpected or new constraint.
- Value stream mapping – identifying non-value-adding activities, revealing opportunities for improvement.
4. Reduce your safety losses
By identifying the links between unsafe practices and waste, you can watch your productivity and profit rise. Overproduction, processing waste, construction delays, and inaccurate inventory are safety hazards to your construction business.
Something as simple as unnecessary transportation can affect you. Are your workers making several trips to Home Depot instead of creating a consolidated list? Identify ways you can ensure your team has everything they need on the job site by 6:00 am. Stay on top of your inventory and equipment by introducing daily audits for your material supplies. Incorporate a management system like Sortly to assist you and spend some time building a network of suppliers to avoid bottlenecks with any third-party vendors.
Operating under a Kaizen methodology forces you to address these concerns by improving your productivity and creating a safer environment for your employees.
5. Increase efficiency
A well-planned work area reduces unnecessary operations or tasks. Ensure your employees acquire the information they need. Invest time into your onboarding process, highlighting safety protocols, job site rules, and career goals. Making your workforce more knowledgeable will reflect in their everyday performance. Construction is currently one of the least digitized industries, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Look at ways to incorporate mobile technology, building information modeling, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence.
These Kaizen principles ultimately drive efficiency, creating a sense of camaraderie. It’s about working together to implement a new way of operating, eliminating the resistance so often associated with change.
Kaizen takes time. It’s a long-term solution designed to help your construction business succeed. Start by educating your company, getting everyone on board with this new way of thinking. Coach your employees and implement that mindset of continuous improvement. Before you know it, you’ll be operating as a lean business at its best.
Get the Most Out of LinkedIn Sales with These 5 Steps
Acquiring more qualified targets is now easier than ever before.
In this blog, we’ll provide you with step-by-step directions to use the competitors’ efforts to your advantage. Moreover, we will show you the tools that enable you to do this on autopilot — with smart automation!
The first two steps are about filtering out the competitors that you should pay special attention to. If you feel like you mastered this already, feel free to jump in straight to #3 — that’s where the real fun starts!
Step 1: Determine Your Actual Competitors
Not everyone who offers a remotely similar product or service is your competitor.
Don’t waste your resources on a target pool that is too wide. If you do, you’ll only spend your precious time on people who won’t be interested in what you have to offer.
First of all, divide the companies you think of as your competitors into the following categories:
- Direct Competition — they sell the same or very similar products as you do, and the customers will consider both of your products (as well as the others in this range) when making a choice.
- Indirect Competition — they offer a similar product, but you’re competing for the same market (for example, orange juice and Coca-Cola).
Let’s start narrowing it down.
Focus on your direct competitors, and ask yourself a few good questions about them and your own business:
- What’s included in the full scope of their services?
- What about you?
- How do they differ at the first glance?
- What does their online presence look like?
- What is your USP?
The broad answers to these questions will guide you through the next step.
Step 2: Study Your Competitors Thoroughly
Let’s start with LinkedIn competitor research.
LinkedIn is a place where industry professionals gather and focus their business efforts — which makes it a perfect starting point when learning about the competitors and their tactics.
Tip No 1: Go to viewing settings and set your profile to private mode.
Remember when you liked your ex’s profile photo from 2015? Not cool at all, right?
Well, the same applies when you examine your competitors on LinkedIn. Don’t forget — unlike other social networks, LinkedIn will show you when someone looks at your profile.
To prevent this, log out from your Google and LinkedIn accounts (if you don’t have a Premium LinkedIn account already).
Tip No 2: Turn off the “Viewers of This Profile Also Viewed” as well!
This will prevent other people from seeing whose profiles you’ve visited and contacted. Now you can see their connections, followers, ads and newsfeed without being seen yourself — and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Tip No 3: Learn about current trends and topics in your industry.
Being up to date with everything that goes on each day is in itself a full-time job.
To make sure you never miss news and events you could use to your advantage, set up Google Alerts to deliver the news for you! It is free and easy to do so:
- Go to https://www.google.com/alerts
- Pick the account where you want the news to land
- Go to “Create an alert about…” tab and enter keywords for the terms relevant to your business
- “Show options” button will allow you to specify how often you want to receive the alerts, sources, language, region, how many results you wish to receive, and the email address/ RSS feed
And just like that, you won’t have to look these terms up: Google will deliver them to you.
Tip No 4: Snoop around the niche spots as well.
Don’t limit yourself only to your existing connections and followers of your direct competitors — there are other places within the LinkedIn community you can research and discover plenty of prospects.
For example, niche industry groups on LinkedIn are perfect places to find potential customers and users. While we’re focusing on LinkedIn here, the same goes for Facebook groups, Reddit, Twitter and Instagram pages. Those can provide you with plenty of useful connections, knowledge and opportunities as well. The group name is an obvious sign of whether it is the right place to look for potential targets or not.
Once you decide the group fits your criteria, join and take a look at the posts. What are people talking about? What are their needs and unmet demands? Can you be of help to them?
Some of the post authors and commentators are looking for exactly the type of service you offer: that’s the sign you’re waiting for, and the right people to contact!
Now, you can decide to chime in and pitch in their inbox or do it in the specific posts’ comments. However, doing this manually will take too long; picking individual accounts, tailoring and sending each message one after the other is long outdated practice.
We have a better idea!
Step 3: Scraping time!
Here we’d like to introduce Expandi.io — a tool to automate everything regarding LinkedIn outreach, but at the same time keep the whole process natural and personalized just as if you did it all on your own.
Expandi will collect all the account names and data from the places you choose, let it be comment section, page followers or connections. For example, you can pick the Twitter pages where your audience gathers to discuss most recent changes in the way your industry works. Then you can scrape everyone who liked that page and turns their names into LinkedIn profiles with help from Expandi.
Now, you have a rich list of LinkedIn accounts to reach out to — all of those people interested in your offer. Imagine how long would it take to vet them out one by one!
The next step is to import this list (you get it in the CSV format) back into Expandi, and you can start to reach out to the targets on LinkedIn.
Step 4: Reach Out to All of Them
One by one?
By now, you got the gist — outreach is automated as well.
You may wonder how to automate the outreach so it doesn’t look robotic and insincere, while speeding up the outbound prospecting? How to personalize beyond “Hey, (target name)!” for dozens of accounts? How to avoid being flagged for spam?
With all those dilemmas in mind, Expandi adapted it’s tool with the following features:
- Dynamic placeholder — this is a dynamic tag unique to Expandi. It will take personalization to another level, so each account you want to reach out to gets a unique message, with something special that shows your effort.
- Safety features — to avoid getting banned for sending tons of messages in short time spans, Expandi makes all the automated activities randomized. The outreach cadence mimics the human behavior perfectly, so you don’t need to worry about getting penalized by LinkedIn.
Final Step — Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor!
Smart LinkedIn automation is the best thing since sliced bread. Instead of tedious manual labor, copying, pasting, and guessing games, there are tools that do all of that for you.
You can dedicate your valuable resources to improve your services or take a break from work in general and spend time with the ones you love the most.
Stefan Smulders is a SaaS Entrepreneur | Founder of Worlds safest software for LinkedIn Automation / Expandi.io | for more than 5 years Founder of LeadExpress.nl
Best Social Media Content Moderation Strategies
Social media has changed the way businesses operate. From creating an entirely different platform for new marketing efforts and changing how brands relate to their customers. We can all agree that social media is a very integral part of many businesses.
But, just as social media serves as an asset for your business, it could also become a liability if not handled properly. We have all seen certain brands put out content that harmed their image, and caused irreparable damages. This could happen to any business if they don’t moderate their content. This is where a social media moderator comes in.
What is a social media moderator?
A social media moderator is someone hired by a company to review, screen, and filter all social media content related to their business. By doing this, a business can ensure that its content is:
- Aligned with its branding and
- Helping them achieve their overall business goals.
In this article, we will cover some of the best social media content moderation strategies and how you can implement them in your overall social media marketing strategy.
Content moderation strategies for social media.
Having solid strategies set in place for your social media content moderation is extremely necessary. These strategies will ensure that you implement your content moderation following established guidelines. Hence, eliminating room for error.
Here are some of the best social media content moderation strategies you can incorporate into your social media strategy.
1)Establish a standard social media policy.
Setting standard rules are essential because they ensure everyone on your content team knows what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. When creating your social media content policy, ensure it includes:
- The inappropriate content your company disallows. Inappropriate content should entail; bullying, brand bashing, sexually suggestive content, offensive photos, and videos, etc.
- Rules on posting spam content. Spamming your audience on social media can diminish your brand’s credibility. It can also devalue your content. Additionally, it can make your social media pages look messy and unattractive. Stay away from spam content.
- How your company addresses sensitive topics like race and gender.
- The method you apply to handle negative comments and reviews on your page or about your brand.
- How you deal with content created from influencer marketing, etc.
2) Designate who can submit social media content.
We all know that there are a plethora of ways brands get and create their content. We also know that a high engagement on social media could equal high reach. And if all things were equal, we could trust all content sources without questions and allow everyone to tag and comment on our page. That’s why the best writing companies make sure they use trusted sources.Therefore, as a brand, you can never be too careful.
So, set limitations on:
- Who can submit content to your brand.
- Who can comment on your page & tag you on their content. Most social media platforms have settings to accept, limit, or decline things like brand tagging and commenting.
- Where/whose social media content you share. It is best to share or feature content from only people who have accounts with your business.
By doing this, you prevent trolls and fraudsters from taking advantage of your brand.
3) Determine a Content Strategy
Creating a content strategy is essential to your content moderation. It helps you ensure that you are creating content that fits your overall brand/social media marketing goals. Your content moderation strategy should include:
- Where you share your content.
- How you use the content that you create.
- How you want your content to look. This should include your color schemes, style guide, taglines, hashtags, if you want to add logos or not, etc.
- The type of content you want to upload.
Your brand messaging must be consistent throughout your social media channels, so a content moderation strategy will help.
4) Create a standard submission process.
While we expect your business to create content regularly, there are also a few other contents generating methods you could implore. Some type of social media contents include:
- User-generated content.
- Customer reviews.
- Contests and giveaways.
- Affiliate promotions, etc.
Consumers love reading user-generated content and top writing reviews. However, whatever way you get your content, you need to have a standard submission process.
The three most common submission processes you can use in your business are:
- Pre-moderation: In this moderation method, your moderation team reviews and approves content pre-posting. The team has to approve submitted content before they post it.
- Post-moderation: In this moderation method, the moderation team posts submitted content, and monitors/reviews them regularly to see how they perform.
- Reactive moderation: With reactive moderation, content is submitted in real-time, and only reviewed if the content is flagged.
Ensure that you include all the information content submitters need to know. So, make available information on:
- Where you intend to use the submitted content
- User permission and rights agreements.
- Content submission deadlines, rules, etc.
5) Monitor your content regularly.
Finally, it is essential to monitor your social media content regularly. This helps ensure that you aren’t missing out on anything that could harm your brand.
You can monitor your content manually, automatically, or a combination of the two. Tools like Mention.com help you track social media content related to your brand.
Any serious business knows content moderation is vital. It attracts the kind of customers you need and also helps keep existing customers. Other advantages include understanding your users, increasing traffic and protecting the image of your brand.
Top SEO Trends Every Marketer Needs to Know in 2021
Search engine optimization can help companies significantly increase their online visibility and sales. What’s great about SEO is that you can learn how to do it yourself online and it won’t cost you a penny. However, it does take a lot of time to master search engine optimization. One of the most challenging thing about learning SEO is that it’s constantly evolving.
You always have to become familiar with new trends to retain or improve your rankings. Here are some of the most important trends that should play a role in your 2021 SEO strategy.
Follow the EAT Principle
The EAT framework was introduced by Google several years ago, but it’s now more important than ever to follow it because a huge amount of your traffic may depend on it. The EAT framework was conceived with the idea to provide Google users with better search results. It’s based on three different factors – expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
The main purpose of this framework is to give ranking advantages to websites with quality content. The first EAT factor is expertise, which you’re required to display in your content. Essentially, you have to display knowledge that’s at the same level or higher than your competitors to outrank them.
Being an expert in a certain field will allow you to craft useful content, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. You also have to display authoritativeness. To do this, you have to secure links from authoritative websites and pages relevant to your industry. Even if your business gets mentioned on another site, it can positively impact your rankings.
With more businesses with an online presence than ever before, local SEO has become fundamental for reaching customers in your area. This is crucial for every business owner that has a company with a physical location. Although you should definitely optimize content, headers, meta descriptions, and tags to target local audiences, your main focus for a good local SEO strategy should be to create a Google My Business (GMB) listing.
When Google provides users with local results, their algorithm looks for companies with complete and accurate information. If you set up a Google My Business listing for your firm, you’ll be favored for local searches. Some of the most basic information you need to add to your GMB page includes your business address, opening hours, phone number, website address, and category.
It’s always a good idea to add numerous photos that clearly display your business, as well as the goods you provide. Encourage your customers to write reviews about your business on Google, as this plays a huge role in rankings. You can also build trust with consumers if you regularly respond to reviews that you get on your GMB page.
Alexa, Siri, and Cortana have become insanely popular ever since virtual assistants were first introduced. They allowed users to search for information online more easily, which heavily impacted common search queries. While most people usually only enter a few keywords in their queries when they’re typing, voice search is more about posing complete questions.
What this tells you about user behavior online is that many people are looking for an answer to a specific question. You can improve your Google rankings by including FAQ sections on various pages on your website. Research what are some of the most common questions consumers in your industry have and write useful answers.
You can greatly increase your conversion rate if you optimize your content for long and specific keyword phrases called long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are somewhat associated with voice search, but many consumers type them when they’re close to a point of purchase.
What’s great about these types of keyword phrases is that there’s less competition for them, which means you have a better chance of grabbing the first spot on search results pages. Although it won’t provide you with a substantial increase in traffic, optimizing for long-tail keywords will effectively help you turn visitors into leads. While your main objective with this approach should be to rank for long phrases, it also helps you achieve rankings for short keywords.
Every business owner should update their SEO strategy often. As technology evolves, so does user behavior on the internet. It’s common for strategies that yield good results to become significantly less effective after a few months. That’s why you should always stay up to date on the newest SEO trends.
Charlie Svensson is a freelance writer and digital marketing specialist. Apart from writing articles for various online magazines and blogs, Charlie also likes to help college students with their essays. He currently works at my-assignment.help, offering his services to countless students in English speaking countries across the globe.
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