Tips to build your business. Part 4. How to keep your building business strong during adversity.


In any business, let alone the building business, there are the things you can control, and the things you simply can’t. That’s especially the case in times of adversity. And it’s a lesson builder Neil Hipwell learned from experience.

It was 2008 when Neil started his business. Within a few weeks, the global financial crisis hit. He quickly realised the need to change strategy, and fast. He pivoted from chasing large renovation projects to smaller bathrooms jobs with quicker turn-arounds and quicker results. That change in scale would bring success.

The lesson? You can’t control the adversity of a global financial crisis, or a global pandemic for that matter. But you can control how your business deals with it, and how prepared your business and your people are to cope with adversity.

Finding strength during adversity is the fourth and final chapter of James Hardies’ video series to help builders grow their business – produced in partnership with Neil’s design and construct business Futureflip. The episode covers strategies to build resilience, team focus and adaptability to keep your business strong during challenging times. Each part of the James Hardie series is packed with tips, lessons and expert advice. So far, the video series has covered topics including social media marketing, finding and converting sales leads and managing timelines and deadlines.

“It’s important to look everywhere for different opportunities, and then seize them as soon as you’ve done your research,” – Neil Hipwell – FutureFlip

Building Strong

In the wake of the GFC, it was Neil’s ability to pivot and hard work that kept him afloat. It also bought him the time to be ready for the demand that came with Sydney’s development boom. “I did my research, put my head down and worked really hard. I’d build by day and design by night, he says.

Over decade later, Neil has been able to streamline his process to build faster and at more cost-effective prices for clients. In turn, getting customers in their homes earlier for the best price, has led to referrals and more business for FutureFlip.

The other focus was on keeping his team motivated and on board. This ‘one team, one dream’ approach kept morale high by rewarding success – from weekly challenges to awards nominated by staff.

“My number one tip for keeping your team engaged and passionate is to be the example. Inspire your team every day to work at the pace and the standard that you need them to.” Neil says.

This final chapter of the James Hardie and Futureflip series also covers:

  • Know your lane. Outsourcing the things you can’t do, such as legal and or HR advice and even the books, means your team can focus on their core skills adding the most value to the business.
  • The importance of keeping morale high to keep your team motivated, especially in times of stress.
  • Finding ways to reward you team for their performance.
  • How to set the best example for your team to follow.

Watch chapter four of the James Hardie and Futureflip Build Your Business series below.
Missed the first few chapters? You can check out Part 1: Social media for builders, Part 2: Finding new clients and Part 3: Managing Timelines.

Looking for consumer leads? Sign up to MyHardies and connect with potential customers planning to build or renovate in your local area.

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