Breakthrough Construction 2014 Conference Recap – What The Speakers Told Us

Our second annual conference, Breakthrough Construction 2014, was a colossal success, with over 100 delegates attending to see the 8 speakers including the keynote speaker Geoff Gilbert, Head of Commercial – Infrastructure at London Underground. There was a brilliant buzz and each speaker brought something valuable to the event. Here’s a brief recap of what the speakers told us:

construction conference fair treatment charterBarry J Ashmore – Ltd: Barry kicked off the day by detailing why we called the event ‘Breakthrough Construction 2014’; because despite all this growth we see in the headlines, the industry is still in a rut and no sign of an end to the bad practice meted out to Specialist Contractors. What are needed to stop that happening are some serious breakthroughs! Geoff Gilbert’s talk about the London Underground’s bold move to work directly with Specialist Contractors is a shining example of the type of breakthroughs that could re-shape the industry forever, and in the Subbie’s favour!

Geoff Gilbert London Underground LULKeynote Speaker Geoff Gilbert – London Underground: Geoff’s presentation was the highlight of the event, as he went into detail about LUL’s decision to work directly with Specialist Contractors on an upcoming Tube restoration project. LUL’s new approach to the supply chain model will involve working direct with Tier 3 and 4 Specialist Contractors in order to sustain quality and productivity, reduce costs and potentially improve time scales of works. You can read more about LUL’s plans in our post conference blog post. 

Natalie Wilson2Nat Wilson – See Social Ltd: Nat, our resident social media guru, talked us through the vast and often daunting world of social media. It’s often difficult to know which of the many social media channels we should be using to reach our target market, so Nat broke down some of the key audiences for each social network. If you are aiming at a largely B2B audience, Nat reckons you should be on LinkedIn, whereas if you want to target a mixture of domestic and commercial clients, Facebook and Twitter are ideal. And above all, Google+ is a great for getting your company found on Google searches, so it’s worth taking a look at for that alone!

David GalavanDavid Galavan – Prater Ltd: David is the Commercial Director at Prater, and talked us through the obstacles he has faced in growing the company, taking them from a 10m annual turnover to an 80m annual turnover. As David says, there are many hurdles that are faced when growing a business of any size, the most important and influential of which are change (and our lack of wanting it) and cash (having enough of it to sustain the business during change and growth). Overcome these two hurdles and your business is in the perfect position to evolve and grow.

Neal JamesNeal James – Panthera Group: Neal’s dad always told him “marketing isn’t for subbies”. Good job he didn’t listen! Neal proved his dad wrong and grew their company through the power of marketing. As he said on the day, he’s no marketing expert, he’s just a fellow subbie who understood the importance of marketing within his business and ran with it. The key benefits Neal found from taking advantage of marketing are the quality of both staff and clients Panthera managed to attract, the reputation and loyal relationships that were built in the industry, and of course there’s the nice effect it had on the bottom line! Take away – marketing IS for subbies, so get on board!

Jessica McGowanJessica McGowan – Investment Sense: Jessica was brave enough to broach the topic of pensions and made people sit up and listen! Pensions might not be the most interesting of subjects, but as Jessica said in her talk, if sub-contractors aren’t careful, automatic enrolment pensions could hit them hard. It is simple enough to get registered, so do it now to avoid getting bogged down in the pension mire, turned down by pension providers and whacked with fines! 

Richard BrackenburyRichard Brackenbury – Shakespeares LLP: Winding up Petitions are exactly what they say, a means of bring the debtor’s company to an end. Used wisely they can rile the Contractor and force payment. But they are very volatile and used incorrectly they could end up costing you much more than you bargained for! The Statutory Demand is usually the best option, but either way always get the help of StreetwiseSubbie  to avoid payment demands blowing up in your face!

Bernard Coleman

Bernie Coleman – WSL Stoneclean: Everyone’s favourite posh Subbie returned and was entertaining and insightful as always. His presentation dramatically named ‘add value – do it or die!’, was right on the mark. Specialist Contractors are  being run into the ground by a lack of innovation and value. They all need to add value and invest in the future of your business or your might not have one!

Andrew Foy

Andrew Foy – Foy Certification: Andrew touched on something that appeals to us all, regardless of specialism, and that’s doing less to make more money! Getting ISO certification for your business, doesn’t cost as much as you might think (or have been misguidedly told),and in short, can be the key to attracting bigger and better quality clients and it can allow you to justify charging more than your uncertified competitors. What’s not to like?!

Missed out this year or attended and want to make sure you join us again next year?

We are taking early bird bookings now! On 16th June 2015 we will host “Win Work. Get Paid. Make Money.” To be held at the Nottingham Belfry Hotel once again, our third annual conference will help you do just what it says on the tin; show you how to win work, get paid and make money in the UK construction industry.

Email to find out more and secure your place at the soon to be sell-out event.

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