HUB Contractors: Lead With Your Knowledge, Not Your Label

Construction contractors that have been certified through the Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) program have a unique opportunity to use their knowledge and experience to win project scope and grow their business.

However, the opportunity to substantially grow revenue depends on whether you think big about how to leverage your solution for value and impact, not just “check a box.”

That was the focus of a recent class at the University of Houston led by RESET CEO Wayne O’Neill and subject matter expert Arnold Baker, the owner of Baker Ready Mixed Concrete and the Commissioner for the Port of New Orleans.

UH Class: How to Market Your HUB Minority Business

On November 7th, Wayne and Arnold provided coaching to professionals in the construction management talent pipeline program on how to intelligently market their HUB business by leading with their credentials in the construction industry. The class was part of an offering from the University of Houston HUB Operations in partnership with the University of Houston School of Construction Management and National Association of Minority Contractors.

Arnold spoke from experience having turned his start-up concrete business into a highly-successful business pulling in millions of dollars of annual revenue. His three key strategies to win project scope and grow revenue center on how to change the conversation from labels to knowledge:

  • Focus on community participation in a meaningful way.
  • Develop multiple paths of connection in both the owner food chain and the contractor food chain.
  • Understand the real business and political issues in-play.

The challenge for many HUB contractors is thinking they have to play a certain game because they have been selected for project work because of a label. Instead, HUB contractors should think bigger and broader about using the opportunity to position themselves as more than a contractor or a contract, but rather a strategic partner that can bring tools and teams to the table to accelerate project scope delivery.

Mistakes and Red Flags to Avoid as a HUB Contractor

Oftentimes, HUB contractors make mistakes or miss red flags because they are looking to win whatever work they qualify for. Instead, the better line of thinking is to identify smart clients that want to engage in a collaborative approach to projects.

During the UH class, Wayne and Arnold discussed some of the common mistakes and red flags that could slow down your business growth:

  • Instead of trying to please everyone, chase fewer opportunities.
  • Don’t be afraid to report offending businesses.
  • Don’t engage in cost-cutting or compromise on price.
  • Don’t think that simply having achieved a HUB certification will create work.
  • Don’t think that talking to project estimators is the best connection for procuring work.

Additionally, HUB contractors often make the mistake of not talking to top management about project scope. It’s important to talk to top leadership at the hiring firm or owner institution to ensure they are aware of team dynamics. This way, management can see the benefits of leveraging your company and associate project success with your solution. This will lead to future project opportunities and revenue growth.

Continually Re-Assess Your Opportunities

As your business continues to grow, it’s wise to re-assess your current opportunities to ensure you are continuing to pursue the best projects. Remember, it’s about being leveraged for value and impact, not just being hired to check a box.

For example, perhaps you have focused on growing your business by winning project scope in the public sector. It would be a good idea to look at opportunities in the private sector, where corporations are incentivized to pursue diversity.

Then, if you decide to change course, enter a new market, and start building new relationships, remember not to lead with a label. Lead with your knowledge, experience, and success. Follow the same process of identifying smart clients to pursue, building multiple paths of connection, and aligning with a new set of business and political issues.

You don’t have to limit yourself. There are opportunities right now to play the game strategically and assertively. The opportunities are out there; you need to find the right clients that are seeking collaborative partners to create and deliver project scope, no matter the label.

Work with RESET to Build Connections Faster

We are extremely appreciative of Arnold Baker for joining Wayne O’Neill to discuss how to market your HUB minority business. (Connect with Arnold on LinkedIn.) We believe the attendees received tremendous value from hearing about a proven approach to create work and grow a business with a HUB certification.

At RESET, we would like to extend the opportunity for follow-up business coaching. If you attended the UH class — or did not attend the class, but have a HUB certification — we would like to connect with you about how to build connections faster to grow your business.

Through our proven methodology, The Connection Process, we help companies leverage connections with target clients in an intelligent manner. Through this collaborative approach, we can help you create faster, more sustainable revenue.

Would you reach out to us today to discuss your current challenges or opportunities? We would like to help you grow by winning more work. Contact us today to discuss how you can start leveraging your solution for value and impact!


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