People in Business Profile Natalia Krystyna

Profile of success. We would like you to meet Natalia from incredibly successful Midlands based VaLu Construction Ltd. An up-and-coming family construction business that carries out work nationwide. Natalia caught our eye on LinkedIn when she announced her company was giving its apprentices tools to start their trade career off (we wanted video – we got great advice for you!). A great thing for employment and it became clear that Natalia is a person of business passion and acumen. Ideal to share that with our TOOKiT audience. Read on to discover Natalia’s penchant for standards, attention to detail, accuracy and doing the job right first time.

Where you are from?

Mobberley, Staffordshire

What drives you?

Success

What inspires you?

People with ambition, people who overcome adversity, people who refuse to be constrained or categorised.

Who is your role model?

My father. Highly intelligent, driven and humorous; but most importantly, compassionate.

Proudest achievement?

Creating a brand from 20k that turned over almost £1M in its first year.

Business Pet Hate?

Bad Manners, tardiness and people spelling my name incorrectly

3 things (Habits / traits) you do that help you be a better businessperson

Routine. Always rise early and fulfil one’s to-do list daily.

Constant self-evaluation. It’s so easy to simply settle for less than your capabilities so it’s important to always stretch a little beyond your reach. Conversely, things change in life and we must adapt at times. Last year’s dream project may be this year’s venture nightmare.

Be charitable. Perspective often gets overlooked in the rat race. It’s important to help others when you can; you never know when you too may need help.

Bidding for new contracts – how does that feel?

The majority of VaLu’s work is repeat custom and word-of-mouth referrals, yet I believe that the concept of bidding for new contracts is also important for a whole host of reasons, not least as a free advertisement for one’s company and a great way to network; but also as a tool to gauge your company’s stronghold in its current market. Plus, a little competition never did any business any harm. It can make you assess your rates and company ethos from time-to-time when you may otherwise be a little complacent.

VaLu has gone from strength to strength since its incorporation in 2018, but these pointers on bidding for new contracts have seen us come a long way, from a staff of four subcontractors to over one hundred subcontractors and numerous employed staff. Whether you, like us, are an award-winning multi-million pound construction company or just starting out, here are my tried and tested suggestions on bidding for new contracts:

1. Research your potential client.

Probably the most important piece of advice I can give; I cannot stress this one enough. That doesn’t mean finding out who the company owner is and dropping his name as your ‘mate’; it means research the history of the business, its owners, its shareholders, its position within the UK/EU/world market, and more importantly, how you fit into all that. Then, beyond that, research the specific job/tender and your possible roles and responsibilities within. Nothing impresses an interviewer/future client more than somebody who rocks up with knowledge and, more importantly, educated suggestions.

2. Be confident.

Check your language in your correspondence; positivity emanates in lots of ways. Use positive vocabulary and form structured, precise points. Check and double check that your grammar is good and you have made the points that are relevant to your trade/application/bid. Poor spelling and an inability to highlight/respond to points apropos creates a negative impression before your bid has even managed to hit the ‘maybe’ pile. Confidence shows and if you’re not proud of your achievements and your business then why would anyone else be? Be concise but relevant when introducing your company. This applies whether you have been invited to tender or are trying your luck with a cold call.

3. Price appropriately.

You must also be confident in your prices, which means knowing your business inside out and doing your homework, being sure of the profit margin in the prices you’re sending out. I’ve never been a fan of the old method of pricing a job and adding 20%; you need a proper pricing structure that reflects a contingency and emergencies. Every trade is different and this is an area where I would definitely recommend external help if you’re not too confident, as without costing a job correctly even if you win the job you’re setting yourself up for failure. Bye bye repeat business, possibly bye bye business, period.

4. Be professional.

Sounds obvious, yet you may be surprised by how many people are not. Always dress to impress, even on a Zoom call. Never be punctual, always early. For face-to-face meetings ensure a firm handshake (or elbow rub) maintaining eye contact, and NEVER, EVER, get their name wrong. Mispronunciation is acceptable, errors are never excusable. Always use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, and unless you really, truly need to, avoid that British trait of apologising all the time.

5. Have low expectations to avoid disappointment.

In construction, quite often the cheapest man gets the job. Refusal and rejection does not mean that you are doing anything wrong (unless feedback specifically points to it). Construction is becoming a saturated market – sadly not in terms of quality – so you may not win every bid you submit. If you feel that you are offering a good service at a reasonable price then stand your ground – you will get your day. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, especially if you find that you are repeatedly coming back empty from a wide range of bids and clients.

6. Manoeuvrability.

Never price low out of desperation. If you’re struggling as a business then look at this aspect separately from bidding for new work. Understandably, easier said than done, but mixing the two is recipe for disaster. You’re always better off going in higher with the prospect of offering discounts further down the line, than going in low hoping to get the job and selling yourself short. Bidding for new work should be exciting: it shows that your company is in a positive trading position and that you are looking to expand.

7. Stand out – a little.

Don’t die your hair green, or discover your potential client’s home address and drop off flowers. Something simple will work like adding a professional picture to your letterhead or CV, or maybe a succinct catchphrase underneath your email signature that just separates you enough to linger in their memory – for the right reasons.

8. Use your experience.

Finally, remember that all experience matters; it all adds up. Put yourself out for jobs you think you won’t win, and jobs you know you won’t win. As with anything, the more experience doing something the better we become. Any feedback and lessons learned make us stronger for that next bid. And always maintain a degree of involvement, which is harder as your company grows but nothing says that you care more than an owner/director of a business who reaches out, even if it simply a follow up from one of your staff.

You can follow Natalia on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/NataliaKrystyna or by visiting her website: www.valuconstruction.co.uk

How about you?

Have you got an interesting story or profile to share? How about some business advice to share? Drop us a line and we would love to cover your story or expertise.

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