What Do You Need to Know to Run a Successful Construction Business?

It Has More to do With Business and Less to do With Construction

There’s something exciting about the thought of starting your own business. It seems like a great idea initially. The problem is that most people don’t realize what it takes to operate a successful construction company.

We’ve all seen construction companies get started and then go out of business.

 According to the Small Business Administration…

60 percent of US construction companies fail within the first five years of operation.

These companies reportedly blamed several factors for their failure, including labor shortage, politics, insurance, taxes, natural disasters, and subcontractor incompetence. While these things may be a part of the problem, if we look a little deeper, we’ll see…

The real factors that brought about construction company failures are internal and within the owner’s control.

The reasons are more likely poor planning, inaccurate scheduling, hiring the wrong people, inability to innovate, poor management, and bad or no business system.

The good news is, that the next generation of construction businesses can learn from their forefathers’ mistakes and avoid failing for the same reasons. 

Owning or managing a construction business is a hard thing to do. And to do so successfully is especially hard.

The solutions to problems that can put construction companies out of business may not be easy. It takes a lot of planning, production management, hard work, and discipline to keep the business running successfully. But at least…

Most issues faced in a construction business are controllable.

Finding out what challenges are likely ahead can help construction companies be prepared.

Here are some reasons construction companies fail –

Lack of funding and/or poor cash flow – One of the reasons construction companies fail is not enough funds or unwise use of funds.

The ultimate dream of any professional in the construction industry is to earn more by owning and running a business, rather than collecting a paycheck working for someone else. But keeping a business operating at a profit is never as simple as just doing construction work.

There are processes and systems that need to be in place for collecting from customers and paying the bills. Construction requires tools, vehicles, and equipment, and these aren’t cheap.

It’s critical to maintain positive cash flow, have a budget for bills, and money saved for emergencies.

Overlooking these things can quickly lead your company to failure.

Poor project performance – One bad project can lead to a construction company’s closure.

Project performance is more than the physical construction work. The internal business systems for proposals, change orders, project management, invoicing, etc. are often not thought off when thinking about construction projects.

Construction projects are about good results. This includes starting and completing projects on time and within budget. Meeting contract requirements and customer expectations.

Failure in any of these areas may mean the closing of your company.

Failure to plan – Just like good planning can lead to a successful construction project, the same is true for building a successful business.

In project planning, you define goals and processes according to the customer’s requirements. You are intentional and clear on where the project is going and how you’re going to get it there.

A good builder will do the same when it comes to their business.

Consistant clear communication with customers, production teams, and suppliers is one of the important pieces of a good business plan.

The likelihood of companies going out of business without a plan increases exponentially.

There are a lot of risks lurking on a construction site that can cause a project to go poorly. The best way to avoid these risks is through awareness, understanding, and preparation.

The same is true for your company. If you become aware that there’s a problem and understand it, you will be more likely to avoid it. Instruction and learning can lead to building your dream business.

The road to success in the construction industry may be long and rough, but it’s worth it.

Become more successful through improved processes, systems, and management; take it one step at a time, and soon enough, you can achieve your ultimate business dreams.

Let us know what your biggest construction business struggles have been in the comments below.

How Implementing a Plan Can Help Us Build a Successful Business

The Five Remaining Areas of the “Job List” Building Block

Back in December we started discussing the importance of building your business on a solid foundation and why people in the construction industry avoid doing it. Then we talked about how a reporting process like the “Job List” can be an important building block in a construction business foundation. Last week we looked at how the “Job List” can help us plan for the future.

A business won’t stand long if it’s not built on a solid foundation.

So far, we’ve discussed how…

  • Creating and recording project numbers can help you focus your attention on the right kinds of projects.
  • Tracking project bid amounts will give you a clear picture of where you are in relationship to meeting your financial goals for the year.
  • Tracking dollar amounts of signed proposals will give you the rest of the picture of where you are financially in relation to where you want to be by the end of the year.
  • Tracking dollars collected from projects will give you a clear comparison of your signed amounts with your collected amounts.
  • Percentage of jobs signed will let you know if your pricing is too high or too low.
  • Percentage of dollars signed per dollars bid will let you know how you’re doing in relation to reaching our financial goal for the year.
  • Percentage of dollars collected per signed simply lets you know if you’ve collected everything that was bid.

Now let’s look at the final five areas of this document and how they fit into a solid business foundation.

Average dollar amount of projects bid – This number (cell I-30) is just like what it sounds like. It’s the average dollar amount of all the projects you have done proposals for. It can be helpful to know what this information is. It can help you determine if you should make changes to the sizes of proposals that you should be doing.

Average dollar amount of projects signed – This price (cell J-32) lets you see what the average dollar amount of your projects is and how it compares with the proposed amounts. Like the average bid amount, this number let’s you know what size of projects you normally do. You can then make changes to what proposals you focus on.

Average dollar amount of projects collected – Like the percentage of dollars collected, this number (cell K-34) lets you know if you’re increasing or decreasing the dollars you collect after proposals are signed. This can be a critical piece of information about how accurate your proposals are.

These next two areas are instructive when it comes to production planning as it relates to achieving your revenue goals.

Projected timeframe for doing signed projects – This information (cells I-23 and J-23) tell you how long it should take you to do the work of the proposals that you currently have signed. This is determined by dividing what your gross revenue goal for the year is by 52 weeks. Then dividing the current total signed amount (cell J-22) by that weekly revenue target number gives you the number of weeks needed to do that work.

Projected date work should be done – Like the projected timeframe, this information (cell K-23) converts the projected time it should take to do the work of the currently signed proposals to a date. This is achieved by adding the number of weeks (cell I-23) to the starting date (cell H-23). This then gives you a target date on the calendar that the work should be done to stay on task and achieve your dollar goal for the year.

I find these last two pieces of information the most revealing and helpful when it comes to staying on target.

This information can increase the sense of urgency and focus, and this is something that is critical to building a successful construction business.

I hope you’ve found this series on the “Job List” as a foundational building block helpful. If you would like more information about this or other business systems and processes, go to SolutionBuilding.net or reach out us in the comments below.

The “Job List” Is One of the Foundational Building Blocks of a Successful Construction Company

Now, What’s the Purpose of This Building Block and Why Does it Matter?

Recently we discussed the importance of building your construction business on a solid foundation and how paperwork is outside of most contractor’s comfort zones. I know, I know paperwork is not a very exciting topic, but neither is concrete. And we all know how important concrete is in supporting a building. The same is true for paperwork and your business.

As we discussed previously, one of the three foundational piers is administration and finance. One of the building blocks in that pier is a Job List which offers valuable information for forecasting the company’s financial needs and production plans.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew –

  • Which types of work were consistently the most profitable
  • How you were doing at meeting your financial goals for the year
  • When you should have the signed projects finished to stay on track
  • How well you’re doing at getting proposals signed
  • What the average price of your projects are

The Job List is an Excel spreadsheet that lets you gather and track information. It has preset formulas determining and sorting the information you need to make your business more profitable.

This document provides information for –

  • Creating and recording project numbers
  • Tracking project bid amounts
  • Tracking dollars of signed proposals
  • Tracking dollars collected from projects
  • Percentage of jobs signed
  • Percentage of dollars signed per dollars bid
  • Percentage of dollars collected per signed
  • Average dollar amount of projects bid
  • Average dollar amount of projects signed
  • Average dollar amount of projects collected
  • Projected timeframe for doing signed projects
  • Projected date work should be done

This list can seem overwhelming but doesn’t have to be.

Here is an example of what the Job List spreadsheet looks like.

Let’s go through the document and break it down into smaller bite size pieces.

Creating and recording project numbers – Having a numbering system can help you sort projects so that you can review which types and size of projects are the most profitable and what you do the most of. It may be that your most profitable ones are not the ones you do the most often. Having this type of information can help you to focus more of your attention on the right kinds of projects for you.

This Job List is a place to list project numbers in conjunction with the size and types of the projects as well as their chronological order. This document provides the numerical part of the project number specific to each project. The other portion of the project number is determined by job specific parameters not included on this document.

Tracking project bid amounts – Our Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal system provides the dollar amount for each project. Once a proposal has been finished, the information specific to that project is entered into the appropriate cells on the spreadsheet. This information includes Job Number (column E), the Customer Name (column F), Description (column G), Bid Date (column H) and the Project Amount (column I). Regardless of the system you use for preparing proposals, you should have a dollar amount that could be entered into this document.

As each new project amount is added in the project amount column, the total project amount at the bottom will update giving you a total dollar amount of the proposals you have done to this point in the year. Based on your company’s past history, this dollar amount should give you a clear picture of where you are in relationship to meeting your financial goals for the year. We will explain this further with the tracking dollars of signed projects.

Tracking dollars of signed proposals – Once a proposal has been accepted, the accepted dollar amount should be entered in the signed amount column. Initially this amount should be the same as the amount in the project amount column. Sometimes the dollar amounts of projects are changed due to change orders. This can be either an increase or decrease depending on the change order(s).

As each new proposal gets signed the dollar amount of the signed proposal should be entered into the correlating cell in the signed amount column. Just like in the project amount column, as each new amount is entered in the signed amount column, the total dollar amount at the bottom automatically updates giving you a total of work you currently must do.

With the total of the signed amount column and the total of the project amount columns, you should be able to get a clear picture of where you are financially in relation to where you want to be at year end.

Let’s say your goal for the year was to generate a gross revenue of $400,000.00. Using the example, you can see that as of December the 12th you were at $352,877.66. This is getting close, but not quite there. If you compare the signed amount to the project amount ($664,381.27) you will see that the signed amount is 53.11% of the project amount. Based on this percentage, to get the signed amount to $400,000.00, the project amount would need to be $754,000.00.

This kind of info is helpful when looking ahead to the future.

We’ve covered a lot here today. In our next post we’ll pick up at tracking dollars collected from projects.

I hope you’ve found this helpful. If you have questions, feel free to put them in the comments below and I will answer them.

Why It’s Critical to Build Your Business on a Solid Foundation

Because If You Don’t…It’s Likely to Come Crashing Down Around You

If you own or operate a business, I’m sure you’ve experienced the feeling of your world crashing down around you. There are a variety of different reasons this happens. A few of them may be due to things out of your control. But, more often than not…it’s because of bad decisions we made.

Most of us that are self-employed started out learning our trade as an apprentice working for someone else. This is how I got started. The problem with this is that while I learned how to build a building, I wasn’t taught how to build a business. This is a critical part of why so many businesses don’t survive.

It doesn’t have to be this way if the business is built on a good foundation.

The foundation of a building is made up of two parts, the footing and the foundation. The footing creates an attachment point between the foundation and the soil. The role of a footing is to support a building and help prevent settling.

The foundation is the base of any building structure. The foundation transfers the load from the structure to the footing and also provides resistance from loads exerted on it. If the foundation of a building is inadequate or not maintained, the building will collapse.

The foundation of a good business is the same. If your business isn’t built on a solid foundation, it will likely collapse.

The footing for your business is who you are. It consists of your purpose, core values and mission. These are the non-negotiables. The things that, when faced with decisions, will be rock solid.

Your foundation is three piers supported by the footing while supporting the business. This is the business systems and operations. These piers are sales/marketing, production/operations and administration/finance. 

  • Sales/Marketing – Searching for and finding customers that you can help by providing your service and/or product through word of mouth, advertising and awareness. Meeting with potential customers, determining what they want/need and preparation of estimates, proposals and contracts.
  • Production/Operation – Organizing, scheduling and maintaining the project or product. Determining who the right people are to preform specific tasks. Knowing the parts that are needed and making sure they fit. Maintaining communication between all parties involved. Upkeep and maintaining facilities and equipment.
  • Administration/Finance – The preparation of documents needed to communicate, track and record all aspects of the business. The filling out and filing of income, expense, banking and tax papers. This leg is one of the easiest for ‘trades-people’ to neglect and one of the most important.

For a business to be successful for the long term it is critical to have these three piers in place and to maintain them.

If one or two of these piers get neglected when doing the busy day to day work…the business begins to lean and if not corrected in time, it will collapse.

These three piers are made up of several different pieces. I plan to break these pieces down and explain how they fit together and serve their part in supporting a successful business.

I will start with the Administration/Finance pier, because it is the most often neglected by ‘trades-people’.

It’s up to us as business owners and entrepreneurs to build and maintain our business. If we do this well…everyone benefits.

The Benefits of Combining Your Calendar and To Do List

The Strength of These Two Things Together Can Increase Your Productivity

As business owners, entrepreneurs, hardworking employees of companies, and active people, we find ourselves busier than ever during this time of the year. As we approach the end of one year and begin preparing for next, there just isn’t enough time to get everything done. Add to this the Holiday season and everything that goes with this…it can get overwhelming.

As busy people we struggle trying to get everything done. The thing we need to remember is…

We don’t have to get EVERYTHING done.

Instead, we should prioritize our actions and focus on the first next thing. What is the most important thing currently on the list? At the same time we need to remember there is a limited amount of time available.

Recently I had a day that made the importance of a calendar and the limits of time very clear.

I typically have my calendar packed tight. Some of you have seen my calendar and know what I’m talking about. On this particular day, I had no meetings or events scheduled. I was lazy about putting things on the calendar.

As always, I had a long list of things to do. More than I could ever get done. The problem with not having things scheduled on the calendar is…the importance of time available is lost. At the end of that day, I was disappointed in how little I got done. I should have put things on the calendar.

This is why it’s important to use a list and a calendar together.

A calendar is a visual view of the time available. As you put things on the calendar, the day, the week(s) and the future begin to fill up. It’s a gauge for what you can get done. It isn’t an exact science; you already know that some things are going to take longer than you plan for.

Seeing this limited amount of time packed to the point of running over amps up the sense of urgency. This increased urgency improves productivity. It’s a black and white way to see the limited time available, a list of things to do doesn’t show you this.

A calendar is a great way to measure the time you have to do the things on the list.

The purpose of lists is to keep track of things that need to be done. We all have lists of things to do, whether it’s in our head, on paper or electronic. I use OneNote for my lists because of its simplicity, connect-ability, flexibility and options available.

The thing that I like about my OneNote list is that it improves my ability to keep track of the things on the list and allows me to easily move things around and add or remove as things change. And we all know that things never change. 😊

A list is a great way for prioritizing things that need done first and keeping track of the rest.

A calendar is a time focused tool. The “to do list” is just what it says…a list of things to do. These are two different tools, with different purposes and abilities that work well together.

Most of us business owners, entrepreneurs, hardworking employees of companies, and active people want to be more productive. Using these two tools to support each other is a good place to start.

How Does One, Make All They Can, Save All They Can, Give All They Can?

At First Glance, One Naturally Thinks Money…but it’s So Much More

I started writing about my core values as a life filter back in January of 2017. Core values are an important part of intentionally living our best lives, the lives that God has designed for each of us.

In that first post I said I would break down my core values in future posts. Well, here we are…almost five years later and I still have two left. Today we shorten the list to one. The core value for today is…

Make all I can, save all I can, give all I can.

This is a variation of the words of the 18th-century theologian and founder of Methodism, John Wesley. Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can. As one of my core values I wanted the focus on me and my business.

Growing up in the Methodist church these words were a part of my life from a young age. As it is with most things we hear when we’re young, it’s not until later in life that we grasp and appreciate the full meaning. As we mature, we begin to realize the importance of taking the blinders off and seeing the bigger picture.

Too often money and business get a bad rap. I believe that most businesses are not working to take advantage of people. Nor do I think that money is evil. It the lust after money that’s evil. Sure, there are cases where people and businesses are being selfish, but I don’t believe that to be the norm.

Make all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can

These are great words to live by and they also serve as a great business motto.

Make all you can

Making all you can is about more than just money. Making is the process of making or producing something. It’s the qualities needed to make something. Making sounds a lot like building…making buildings, making businesses, making lives. Money is needed to make things, but it isn’t the only thing needed.

From a business perspective, if you don’t make money you won’t stay in business.

This is one of the reasons it’s one my core values…I tend to put making money lower on my list of my priorities. I use this core value to remind me not to do that.

Save all you can

Like making…saving is not just about piling up money. Saving is reserving and not wasting. It is about spending time wisely. It’s about being thrifty and frugal.

I see figuring out ways to save as a challenging puzzle and I’m constantly looking for ways to solve it.

We should always expect the unexpected. Saving allows us to be better prepared for the unexpected.

Give all you can

Giving is something that is often connected to money. Around the Holidays we are bombarded with opportunities to give. Once again giving is about so much more than just money.

One of the best ways to give is to share our skills and abilities.

Whether that is at our church, community organizations, or through our vocation. Sharing our gifts through work is honoring to God even if it’s something we get paid for. Last week we discussed the importance of service over sales. Service is about giving.

Finding the balance and not getting too focused on one thing or the other is important to operating a successful business and living a fulfilling life.

That’s why Make all I can, Save all I can, Give all I can, is one of my favorite core values.

Previous core valuer posts –

Using core values as a life filter

Honor God in all that I do

Intentional action

Take the blinders off an be more observant

Pay attention to detail

Spend time wisely, there is a limited amount

Never be satisfied with mediocrity

Find and maintain the balance in everything

Build the wall one brick at a time (previously, move the mountain one shovel at a time)

Remember that I have two ears and one mouth

Be accountable

Why is it That Businesses Put More Emphasis on Sells Over Service?

It Doesn’t Have to Be One or the Other…It’s Our Job as Businesses to Find Both

When thinking about business ownership or leadership, the focus often is on making a lot of money. Not that there’s anything wrong with making money. The problem is when money becomes the driving factor.

We’re all aware of those people who have been super profitable in their business. You know…those rags to riches stories where someone started out with nothing, came up with a new idea and became wealthy.

Making a lot of money is a big reason why so many people decide to start a business.

It doesn’t help that we are constantly being bombarded with some new product, formula or process that is a “shortcut to wealth”. The problem is…most of them aren’t.

This isn’t to say that they can’t or won’t work. What I’m saying is…more often than not…these things sound better than they really are.

After my wakeup call in 2012, while recovering from my accident, I began researching ways to share my construction expertise and business experience with others. I thought, I’ll help construction companies and customers through coaching and consulting.

The problem was…I knew how to run a construction company…not do virtual coaching and/or consulting.

So, I subscribed, bought, downloaded and joined multiple programs, courses, classes and trainings in an effort to turn this new idea into a business.

It didn’t go as well as was expected.

Not that I didn’t gain a lot of valuable knowledge, insight and things that I can and will use.

The problem is that it was the proverbial “getting the horse ahead of the cart” thing. We’re being bombarded through commercials, emails, social media, etc. with the next shiny new thing that is going to be the answer to all our business prayers.

All those things that I was sure were what I needed to get my next business up and going…weren’t.

This led to feeling like I was, “wandering, lost in the business dessert”.

After feeling this way for a while, I began to doubt myself. Maybe that great idea I had wasn’t so great after all. Too often this kind of thinking leads to saying to heck with it and giving up.

In our mastermind last week, Becky Warner shared that she had an aha moment when she realized that starting out trying to sell too much, too early, was a mistake. She said, we need to start with connection and community.

Connection and community…these are the same as SERVICE!

When I heard her sharing her thoughts about this, I felt relief. It was a confirmation that I wasn’t the only one feeling like this.

Starting the journey across the business dessert with unrealistic expectations leads to wandering.

The information that Becky shared with the group confirmed what I had been feeling. I needed to look back at what had worked in my construction business and that was…focus on service, not on sells.

This isn’t to say that sells don’t matter. What I am saying is…

Our businesses are more than just profit.

We have all been given skills and abilities that provide a service to others. If we figure out what that purpose is and use it, we can sell more and make more.

97% of businesses fail within 10 years. This is in large part to their focus on sells and not service. I don’t know about you, but I want to be part of the thriving 3% of businesses that succeed.

If you provide service…the sells will follow.

Independence Is a Good Thing…If it Isn’t the Only Thing

Finding Our Balance as We Walk This Tightrope Called Business

As we celebrate our country’s independence on this coming Monday, we need to stop and give thought to what this day means.

John Adams wrote this to his wife,

“This will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

We need to remember that this is so much more than just fireworks, parades and barbecues.

One thing to remember is, this independence wasn’t achieved by one person. There were multiple people involved in getting this accomplished. This fine line of separation and collaboration is a tough thing to stay balanced on.

This independent perspective is important, but not the only one.

We are all part of something bigger than just ourselves.

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, we are told that our bodies are made up of many parts. “A body isn’t really a body, unless there is more than one part. It takes many parts to make a single body. That’s why the eyes cannot say they don’t need the hands. That’s also why the head cannot say it doesn’t need the feet. God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others.” 

The same thing is true in business.

As we approach different situations, we usually consider them from our own perspective. This is only natural because we’re all made in our own specific, separate way.

It’s important to know who we are, where our strengths lie, what we’re good at doing. This is how we’re made and what we’re made to do.

I know that I have a pretty strong opinion about how I want things done in my business. More times than not, this leads to my “get out of my way and I’ll do it myself” attitude.

Trust me…this isn’t the way God designed things to work.

This is not a very good business plan. I need to work on balancing my skills with the skills of others to build a stronger and more productive business.

Balancing independence and delegation is a fine line, but if I don’t, I’m likely to lose my balance and fall off the tightrope.

Remember the reason we’re celebrating and the cost to our independence as you watch the fireworks.

Having a Business Plan is Crucial to Building Your Best Business

Just Like a Building, You Need a Blueprint for Building a Better Business

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a solopreneur or have a team. If you have been in business for 30 years or just starting out. Regardless of the kind of work you do, the organizational plan for your business is as important as the work you do…maybe more.

Too many people run their business on a wing and a prayer. They just roll the dice and hope things work out

If you own your business and aren’t intentional about the organizational operation of your company, it is likely that you won’t make it past your 5th year. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just think about the number of businesses that you have seen come and go over the years.

In my 40 years of being in business I have learned a lot of lessons, some of them the hard way. Let me tell you, the tuition for “The School of Hard Knocks” is expensive.

There were times when I got behind on taxes so I could pay bills and times that I got behind on bills so I could pay taxes. Neither of these is a very good business plan. One of my SHK professors once told me, “When you steal from Peter to pay Paul, you make Peter a Paul bearer”.

If you want to avoid the need for a pallbearer for your business…you need a plan.

It’s common for people to start a business without a plan. Generally, someone has learned a trade or a craft and for whatever reason they decide to go into business. Most of the time they have given little, if any, thought to the business operation. They show up every day working hard and then, surprise…you owe some taxes and haven’t saved any money to pay them.

You need a plan, a blueprint for building the business.

There are a lot of similarities in constructing a sound building and a constructing profitable business.

Both need –

  • To start with design plans – the thing that gives you a clear direction of what you want the outcome to be.
  • An architect – the person that can see the vision of what the finished product will be.
  • A solid foundation – the thing that will support you when the storms come.
  • A good framework – the thing that holds everything together.
  • A builder – the person that reads and understands the plans and puts all the different pieces together correctly.
  • The proper tools – these are what allow the pieces to be shaped and fastened together in the right places in the right order.
  • A good team – these are the different people with the different skills and knowledge needed.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business for years or are just starting out…


If you or someone you know would like to minimize the time spent attending “The School of Hard Knocks”, then follow or share our Weekly Solutions with people who could use some help with a business plan.

Finding solutions for building dream businesses is what we’re about at Solution Building. If you have questions about business plans, contact us below.

Revised and reprinted from 02/24/18

How Can Movies Improve Your Business Plan?

This is Assuming That You Even Care How Your Business Turns Out

Once again today’s conversation originated from our mastermind. This week we we’re presented with a question to answer.

From the perspective of an entrepreneur, what’s your favorite movie, and why?

Any of you who know me, know that I’m a movie fan. As I considered this question, there were a lot of movies that came to mind. My favorite movie is The Polar Express…but this isn’t a movie about business.

As I considered my favorite movies from an entrepreneurial perspective, something began to stand out…

Every movie is full of lessons about both business and life.

There are a variety of movie genres, story lines and qualities of movies, but as I think back over the movies I’ve watched, all of them are nothing less than lessons for living.

And what is business other than living?

Some of these lessons are things we should do…some are things we shouldn’t.

As I thought about movies and lessons, I remembered writing about Christmas movies as a life plan. The more I thought about movies from an entrepreneurial perspective, the more I realized that The Polar Express had a lot to say about business as well as life.

If I operate my business using the Polar Express business plan, it will be a great ride.

If you aren’t familiar with The Polar Express, it’s about a young boy who is beginning to doubt the reality of Santa Clause. He’s woken up by a loud noise in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve and finds the Polar Express parked in front of his house. With some hesitancy he boards the train.

He then embarks on a ride with other kids to the North Pole. Along the way they’re faced with obstacles to overcome and situations to celebrate. Through his diligence and the help of others he makes the trip successfully. After this journey he is reassured and believes.

This sounds a little bit like business, doesn’t it?

Like in the movie, we have to decide if we’re going to get on the business train or not. If we don’t, that particular train won’t ever come by again. Once we make the commitment, we need to stay on the ride to the end.

Business and movies are both full of difficulties and situations that may or may not be direct results of things we’ve done. Either way, we have to deal with the situations that we find ourselves in. Like the boy on the Polar Express, it’s great to have the support of friends and colleagues when the ride gets rough.

Too often our belief waivers. We don’t know if we should get on the train or not. This probably isn’t the right train.

But something is prodding us to get on.

This is God telling us to go for it. Get on the train. Enjoy the ride…all of it. The good and the bad, the ups and the downs.

Ride that train and the things you will experience will be amazing.

But it requires that you get on the train and believe.

Get on and enjoy the ride!