The Ebbs and Flows of Owning Your Own Business
January 19, 2016
By Charles “Chip” E. Greene, PHCC—National Association President
Greene & Associates, Macon, Georgia
I am starting my 25th year as a business owner. I think the driving force for wanting to own my own business was that I wanted to control my own destiny—if a project went well, I got credit for the success; if a job went bad, then I took the blame for the lack of success. Another reason was I was interested in building relationships with my clients. Where I worked previously, the statement had been made that we needed to approach every job as if we were going to file a claim against the client. While some documentation is a necessity on every project, none of us are blameless; we all make mistakes. I wanted to work in an atmosphere where building relations with clients was first and foremost.
Small business owners wear lots of hats—we are technical support, human resources, estimator, purchasing agent, etc. And in the midst of all this, we are supposed to work “on our business” (vs. working “in our business”), doing such things as analyzing revenue and expenses, cash flow, banking relationships, insurance, etc. The average PHCC company employs about 20 employees. We employ about 30 people. We’re a tight knit group and despite whatever organizational structure we may have, at the end of the day many of the final decisions of what we do are mine.
My father was my business partner for the first 10 years I was in business and a close advisor for another eight years. He told me early on in my career that I needed to join PHCC that the relationships that one could make were invaluable. I have found this to definitely be true in my 20+ years as a PHCC member. Within PHCC’s Construction Contractors’ Alliance (CCA) groups that I participate in, we describe these relationships as having multiple business partners that we don’t have to pay a salary but yet can call on for advice or assistance in making a decision any time!!
PHCC had an ad a few years ago that said “With PHCC you’re not alone.” Take this to heart!! Our members tell us the two biggest things they get out of PHCC events are the networking with other members and the education provided. Combine that with PHCC’s never-ending efforts to be your watchdog on Capitol Hill and your state chapter’s efforts with state government, you have a great business partner with you all the time!