Rave Build Blog. Stay up to date with sofware releases and the happenings at Rave HQ.

RELEASE – 6th July

New timesheet options to add ‘morning break’, ‘lunch break’ and ‘afternoon break’s  

  • New tags “morning break”, “lunch break” and “afternoon break” are added to the list of timesheet tags.

Display lost and closed clients information in the sales overview report

  • For those with Branch Owner login, within the sales overview report, users can now view lost and closed clients information in their desired date range.

Introducing our new-look website and blog!

This week we rolled out our brand new website and blog, and we’re pretty pleased with how they look and feel. If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to head over to ravebuild.co.nz (and http://blog.ravebuild.com/) or stick around in this blog where we will highlight a few of the key changes.

First of all, it carries a cleaner, cooler, and calmer colour scheme that we feel really matches the Rave Build brand. Our homepage has all the same great info – and more! Check out some awesome testimonials from Rave users, and get an all-around better idea of what Rave can do for your business.

About us: As part of this website update, we have added a section highlighting the awesome bunch of people behind Rave Build! We think it’s important that you know who you’re dealing with at Rave, that way you know our story and who’s behind the magic.

Features: Learn about Rave’s tools and systems on the refined features page. With breakdowns on all of the great ways Rave can save you time, help you grow, and take your project management to the next level.

Contact us: All of these essential contact details can be found at the new Contact Us page. We pride ourselves on meeting the needs of our market, which means we want to hear your feedback when you have it!

Sign up for a trial right from our website: Not only does the new site look the part, but it’s also easier than ever to sign up for a Rave trial too! If you navigate to the bottom portion of any of the site’s pages, you’ll find the quick and easy signup form. It’s simple – enter your details, and someone from our team will be in touch to take it from there!

As always, if you need any support with RaveBuild, we encourage you to reach out to us at support@ravebuild.co.nz or call us at (NZ) 07-210-2228 or (AUS)1800-179-163

Isaac Ludlow Series Part 12: Eight proven ways to increase your customer base

Increase the size of your customer base by following these simple but highly effective steps to generate leads and successfully convert them into paying customers. The secret to truly successful marketing involves a comprehensive understanding of the needs and desires of the market – and more specifically, the individuals who constitute that market.

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Photo by Lukas from Pexels


By connecting with those who want the products and services that you offer, and communicating how they will benefit from working with you, your business will gain new customers. The problem faced by many business owners is that they either fail to define exactly who their potential customers are, or they lack the skills, resources, and strategies necessary to build valuable relationships with them.

Marketing is essential for all businesses, and effective marketing can easily increase your number of customers. By following a few tips and engaging in some time-tested initiatives, the process can be easy and provide a good return on your investment.

Here are a few of the best tried and true methods for adding new customers in record time:
#1) Create “Raving Fans”

Loyal customers are ideal customers. The most prized customers of all are those who become so energised about the level of service they receive, that they cannot stop telling others about it. These “raving fans” are a golden asset and an awesome source of new customers, followers, and leads.

To thank these raving fans, rather than offering a standard discount coupon, really add value for them. For instance, a business owner might instead offer them tickets to a golf tournament or concert, deliver flowers or a gift basket to them, or pamper them in other special and memorable ways. It all depends on the true value you place on these kinds of customers.

Imagine having fans as loyal as those who support sports franchises worldwide? Photo by Tembela Bohle from Pexels
Imagine having fans as loyal as those who support sports franchises worldwide? Photo by Tembela Bohle from Pexels

#2) Identify a target market for direct mail

Direct mail campaigns work best when trying to reach a group that you already know are potential customers, unlike blanket marketing methods of advertising that hit everyone. To clarify exactly where to market, it will be helpful to know basic information about the recipients, such as their place of residence, age, and gender, as well as deeper more value-rich information like income level and buying habits. One of the most effective ways to generate an appropriate mailing list is to hold a giveaway or contest. Those who submit their email or postal address on an entry form are obviously interested in winning that product or service, so this can help to pre-screen them as potential customers.

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels
Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

#3) Create a referral program

Design a referral program that rewards existing customers for bringing new customers to your business. Referral rewards can be offered in the form of discounts, gifts, exclusive products, invitations to special events, “closed door” sales events where only certain customers are invited to participate, or other preferred customer perks.

Many customers have friends, coworkers, and family members who require the same products and services, so incentivising referrals are a natural process of growing the customer base – a really effective way to grow your base of “Raving fans”!

#4) Create strategic business alliances

By partnering with other businesses which have a similar type of customer to you, but no actual direct competition, your company can expand its customer base quickly and easily. Customers who trust certain businesses and have proven their loyalty to them will be inclined to follow their recommendations and endorsements; in this case, your business.  It is a “win-win” situation for the businesses within the alliance and also for their shared customers.

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#5) Advertising in the media

Getting the word out through mass media is often the only thing necessary to vastly increase your number of customers. A well-followed Social Media page with photos, videos, and promotions running can often connect directly with your target market. You can further refine this connection by paying for Google Ads and/or other online ad boosting, i.e Facebook ads. Radio or TV are still extremely effective means of advertising for the right businesses and products. For those businesses that are on a tighter budget, email marketing, a Google listing, flyers, and classified ads in local newspapers are an easy and reasonably affordable way to enter the local ad market. There are also many neighbourhood papers – professional newsletters, school newsletters, trade journals, and other publications that offer strategically targeted ad opportunities.

#6) Train and support employees to improve their skills

Employees come in contact with many people every day, both inside their place of business and elsewhere. An employee might attend a sports club, church, or school where there are dozens of potential customers. For certain businesses, by helping that employee learn the skills needed to promote the business to those contacts, it is possible to gain new customers. Employees may need training and incentives, but having employees who believe in the product and business is essential. Invest in those who are within the business, and the investment will often pay off by bringing new customers from outside the business.

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#7) Go online and drive traffic to your business

Create an appealing and effective website, and it will act both as a customer magnet that never sleeps and a business presence that extends around the entire world almost overhead-free. A key marketing tactic is to give site visitors something valuable, in exchange for them providing more information about themselves. Concentrate on getting contact info.  When they sign up on the site or visit the store, for example, they may be rewarded with a discount, contest entry, service upgrade, or a free consultation. Make incentives irresistible and continue to emphasize a call to action, otherwise, internet surfers will be much less likely to convert into useful leads and real customers. It’s also extremely worthwhile to optimise your website with keywords for your business, this is called Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO. Paying an online marketing company to do your search engine optimisation can dramatically increase your traffic to your website, and bring the right people to it as well.

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#8) Increase visible exposure

Brand recognition is powerful, so capitalize on visible exposure at every possible opportunity and it will soon increase your customer base, and strengthen your brand. Some companies give away beverage coasters, key chains, and coffee mugs that double as promotional items. Others put up signs, buy uniforms with logos on them, or get vehicles sign written. Look for every chance to come out from the shadows and be seen.


What kind of growth results can you expect in the construction industry?

To give you an idea of what you might expect, I’d like to share how I achieved a 400% increase in profits in the construction industry.

I invested about $1,000 per month, an hour every week with a business coach and about four hours every week working on improving my business.

The return on coaching for my business was over 400%, investing a total of around $50,000 and receiving increased profits of over $200,000. As well as the return on investment financially for my business, the other benefits that I received from coaching were that my personal income doubled and I was able to go from working approximately 42 hours, down to about 35 hours per week. For our family, this meant that we had more time together, more flexibility, more holidays, and greater freedom to enjoy doing what we enjoyed.

When I look back at the coaching experience I feel incredibly grateful for the personal growth, the financial growth, the leadership growth, and the difference it has made to our ability as a family to contribute to making this world a better place. Obviously, I’m a raving fan about business coaching now.

Why don’t you flick me an email or make a quick phone call and I’ll show you how to get those kinds of results in your business.  You’ll receive a free assessment of your business, several strategies for you to move forward and a no obligation look at the kind of difference that coaching would make in your business and life.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Isaac Ludlow

Business Coach
ActionCOACH 
The World’s #1 Business Coaching Firm
Hamilton, New Zealand
Mobile: +64 27 548 3302

Isaac Ludlow Series Part 11: The comprehensive guide to effective back-costing

Hey team,

Do you ever find that you’re working really hard in your business, but after you’ve paid all your bills there’s not as much as you would like left over? Do you ever wonder how much you are actually making in profit each week, each month, or per job?

If you have back-costing in place already, then congratulations!  I’m sure you’ve found the benefits already.

However, if you’re not back-costing at the moment and you’re not sure how much you’re making on each job – or if you are making any profit at all, then today’s article is perfect for you, you’ll see some examples of back costing per month, per job and per hour as well as some simple tips for how to get back-costing underway, so you’ll know exactly how much profit (or loss) you are making.

To put it really simply, back-costing is working out how much profit you made in your business and breaking it down into parts – like profit per hour, week, month, job, team member, or subbie.


Here are a few simple examples of how back-costing works:

Back-costing for an individual month: Let’s say, for example, that you have expected to earn $50,000 in one month, and after you pay your team, materials suppliers, and subbies, you have $15,000 of gross profit left over to pay the overheads of running the business and $5,000 of net profit left over after that.

In the process of back costing, you might find that you earned $50,000, but once you’ve paid your team, materials suppliers, and subbies, you only have $8,000 to pay the overheads and instead of having profit leftover, you’ve made a loss of $4,000 this month.  It’s very handy to know these kinds of figures so that you can work out what’s really going on and make changes to ensure that the future is more profitable. (These figures will be available in your profit and loss statements in your accounting software)

Back-costing the hourly rate for you and your team: For charge up work, one of the most important things to back-cost is the hourly rate – for you and your team. Let’s do an example, let’s say you wanted to work out how much profit you are making from the work of your team members:

If your charge out rate is $60 per hour and you are paying them $25 an hour, at first glance, it might look like you are making $35 dollars per hour.

In this example, as well as the $25 you’re paying them, you may have extra costs such as: Income tax 20% ($5.00), Holiday pay 8% ($2.00), Sick leave 2% ($0.50), ACC 6% ($1.50), Kiwisaver 4% ($1.00)

Total extra costs: $10.00

The hourly rate initially looks like you’re making $35 per hour, but when you take out the taxes and extra costs it drops down to $25

You may also have other associated costs like paying them for non-chargeable time, training time and expenses, phone, vehicle, tool allowance, apprenticeship costs as well as team social events or gifts that average out over the year.

It may be that you’re only making half what you thought you were making

If you want to have a profitable business, you’ll need to know these figures.  It will give you the information you need so that you can work out what’s going on and make sure that every hour charged is profitable and your team is providing the value you need from them.

Back-costing for fixed price jobs: The simplest way forward is to make a list of what you quoted for, and then compare that to the actual costs on the job. Here’s a real quick example of back costing a small fixed price job.

Say you’ve quoted for a job like building some steps on a deck. You may have quoted $1,500 to the customer –  $1,000 for labour and $500 for materials. When you did the quote, you allowed for your expenses; including the wages of $700 for your team to do the job and $350 to your supplier for the materials, which should leave you with a profit of $450.

However, when your team dug the pile holes, the ground was really hard, so it took longer than expected.  When the guys picked up the decking timber, they didn’t pick up enough and had to make another trip to the supplier to pick up a few extra metres.  So in the end, the job took longer than expected. The back costing might look something like this:

Materials Quoted at $500, expected cost was $350, actual cost was $350, leaving $150 profit.

Labour Quoted at $1,000, expected cost was $700, actual cost was $900, leaving $100 profit.

In this example, the total profit that was expected was $450, but the actual profit for the job was only $250. It’s essential to know these numbers so you can either charge for variation or make sure that you charge more in the future

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Tips for getting started on back costing:

When you’re quoting, you have probably budgeted the number of hours for labour, material quantities, quoting time, project management time, time to pick up materials, profit margins, and allowances for errors or delays. To keep it real simple, using a piece of paper or spreadsheet makes this fairly easy.

When you have the information, you may wish to work out what kinds of jobs are more profitable and whether you need to quote higher so that you’re making a good margin on your jobs, or you might have a wake up call realising that certain work is making you very little profit or even a loss. You may decide to stop doing some jobs and activities because there’s no money in it.

I hope you have an exciting and profitable day.

Isaac Ludlow

Business Coach
ActionCOACH 
The World’s #1 Business Coaching Firm
Hamilton, New Zealand
Mobile: +64 27 548 3302

If having a successful team is important to you then please get in touch with Isaac at isaacludlow@actioncoach.com or 027 548 3302 who can work with you to achieve your goals.

RELEASE – 24th April

Signed contract value for a “WON” opportunity (update)

  • When changing an opportunity to “Won”, you’ll be prompted to enter a signed contract value and date.

Stage claim variation double ups (bug fix)

  • Cannot create multiple variations with one submit button anymore.

UI in stage claim (bug fix)

  • UI bug is fixed in stage claims within closed builds now.

Opportunity/Build Status Maintenance (bug fix)

  • When an opportunity is changed to “Maintenance”, now, the build status is automatically changed to “Maintenance” also.

Validation for task duration (update)

  • Validation is added when a user tries to enter half days for the “Planned duration” and “Prompt days” on the comments page. Prompting them to enter a “full day” by giving them the nearest valid values.

Resetting date on the calendar (bug fix)

  • When returning from a custom date-range search, the calendar is reset to the current dates. The “Reset” button is now removed from the page, users now just need to refresh the page.

Update: Add permissions to your folders to boost your organisation levels

To get the most out of your RaveBuild experience, we recommend you take advantage of the permission settings that are found throughout the system. Permission settings are the best way for RAVE users to ensure that all stakeholders in their projects can access the files and information that they need, and nothing that they don’t.

In a recent update, our team has added some simple but effective permission settings to use when creating new file folders. While adding or editing a new file folder, branch users can now set view and/or access permissions, determining who can view and access the folder.

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Once a file folder is added with permissions, it can be saved as a template to be used when creating future folders. This saved folder template can then be loaded to any project. Allowing you to remain consistent and accurate every time you set-up or edit your projects.

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These saved templates are listed under the “Templates” page. Ready for you to view, amongst all your other saved templates from throughout RAVE.

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These folder templates can be set as default templates, which when set, will be auto-loaded whenever a new build is added. This, once again, saves you time and effort when logging your builds within RAVE.

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For a complete view of all the technical updates and tweaks that have been made to RAVE recently, check out the Technical Updates section of our blog.

As always, if you need any support with RaveBuild, we encourage you to reach out to us at support@ravebuild.co.nz or call us at (NZ) 07-210-2228 or (AUS)1800-179-163

RELEASE – 11th April 2019

Set permissions when adding/editing folder

  • While adding or editing a new file folder, branch users can now set view and/or access permissions. Determining who can view and access the folder.

Folder templates saved

  • Once a file folder is added; with permissions, it can be saved as a template.
  • This saved folder template can be loaded to any project.
  • All these saved templates are listed under the “Templates” page.

Setting template as default template

  • These folder templates can be set as default templates, which when set, will be auto-loaded whenever a new build is added.

Messages (bug fix)

  • “Messages” Bug Fix

Login  (bug fix)

  • “Login” Bug Fix

 

Isaac Ludlow Series Part 10: Increase engagement and productivity during team meetings – and beyond!

isaacbannerDo you find that your team is open, engaged, and proactive in team meetings?

Are your team members open with you about issues that they would like to see fixed? Or do they just grumble behind your back amongst themselves?

What difference would it make for your team’s productivity and enjoyment levels at work if all the team members got along better? Often it’s the simple things that make the most difference, and today I want to share a tool that is very simple, doesn’t take long, and makes a big difference for the engagement of your team.

When people arrive at meetings they can have lots of things on their mind, for example how their day has gone so far, how things are at home, things they are proud of, happy with, frustrated about… The list can go on and on.

icandoitIf your team turn up to the meetings thinking about these things, then how will that affect their concentration? How valuable do you think it would be to you, to have all of your team present and ready to contribute your team meetings? 

The tool that I’ll share today has been proven to make a huge difference in morale, productivity and enjoyment at work! It takes some vulnerability, someone to show the way, and the forming of a new habit, but it’s worth every second.

The process is simple and it’s called a WIFLE.

Here’s how it works:

WIFLE stands for ‘What I Feel Like Expressing’. The WIFLE is a powerful tool to help you build a championship team, and using it enables each team member to express what is currently going on in their lives, both at a business and personal level. Too often it is assumed that people leave their emotions at the door when they come to work, but the reality is that this unexpressed or ‘bottled up’ emotion can often impact negatively on team performance.

The rules for a WIFLE are as follows:

Sit around the room, and starting with the person next to you, ask them this simple question: “What do you feel like expressing?”. This person then has the right to say whatever he or she feels like (usually for about 1 to 3 minutes), without interruption, this is most important. If anyone does not feel safe to express whatever he or she feels, you are all wasting your time.

Once the team member has had a say, this person then asks the next person what they feel like expressing. When everyone has had their say, you may then ask if anyone has any ‘Burnings’. This is where anyone that feels they have been wrongly treated replies to the other person’s feelings or impression, either by apologising or explaining what they think actually happened. If these sessions are conducted correctly, you will find your team bonds together effectively and relates to each other as humans – instead of just someone you work with.

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You need to hold WIFLE sessions regularly in your business. It should be held at a minimum frequency of weekly but you may wish to hold them as regularly as daily – it depends on what’s realistic for your business. It can also work well having one at the start of the week (first thing Monday, including goal setting) and one at the end of the week (to review the week on Friday afternoon).

It is important that everyone realises that any complaints are not directed personally, rather they focus on behaviour. This is essential in enabling everyone to feel safe in voicing any criticism of you or the system, meaning changes can be made and progress is always happening.

You may also try other variations of this, such as the high-low technique. This is where each team member expresses their high’s and low’s for the week during the WIFLE. Remember, open and honest communication is one of the first steps in building a championship team.

Isaac Ludlow

Business Coach
ActionCOACH 
The World’s #1 Business Coaching Firm
Hamilton, New Zealand
Mobile: +64 27 548 3302

If having a successful team is important to you then please get in touch with Isaac at isaacludlow@actioncoach.com or 027 548 3302 who can work with you to achieve your goals.