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Winning Projects with Interactive Construction Presentations October 17, 2013

Posted by carolhagen in Bluebeam Revu, Construction Industry - Software, Construction Industry Hardware.
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Winning Projects wit Interactive Presentations

Turn Your Whiteboard into a Touch Pen Display

Construction presentation effectiveness is the difference between winning and losing a project. Since Powerpoint came on the scene, the innovative contracting firm has mastered storytelling and realizes than communication is a two way street. Proving your understanding of the project scope, site challenges and constructability is paramount to success. The static slide is being usurped by interactive presentations. Here are a few ideas to convert your next presentation from drab to interactive:

Make Your Information Visually Appealing
One of the most common presentation mistakes is made when displaying numbers in a row and column format. Most people think, I’ll make a chart or graph which is old school. Instead, create a Heat Map using Excel. This is especially effective when presenting energy data on a LEED construction project to an owner. This video from Annielytics is an excellent tutorial of how to create a heat map:

Add Interactive Elements
Links to supporting project data, photos, videos etc are the basics. Hyperlinking Slide content to construction documents or real-time data collection that translates these field updates into easily understood moving visuals are recommended. How you render project progress completion by building, floor or room can transport an owner inside his own building. Here’s an example of a design coordination meeting recently shared by Ryan Companies using Bluebeam Revu in a Studio Session:

Construction Design Coordination Meeting using Bluebeam Studio

All annotations and task statuses are captured in the Markups list of Bluebeam

Update Your Construction Visual Aides
U-Pointer works with all projectorsUsing whiteboards, projectors and flat screen monitors is so 2008. Convert your Whiteboard or wall-mounted flat screen monitor into a touch pen screen with the U-Pointer. It’s small and portable to take with you to a client’s office. Wherever your need to present, you can make a lasting impression, even at the jobsite:

Large Display

Interactive Display at Jobsite with U-Pointer

Add a Liquid Multi-Touch Display and immerse your audience with an iPad-like project kiosk experience. Show your construction team link portal, interactive

32" Liquid Display with Stand

32″ Liquid Display with Stand

plan sets, your visual punch process, the job site check-in process for your workforce and how you communicate when resolving time-sensitive issues.  The electronic documents of today necessitate mark-up and annotation capabilities.  Your client is expecting a mobile, connected and collaborative team that communicates efficiently.

Whatever cost effective technology you use on your construction site that adds value, improves communication and streamlines processes is a winning proposition to the construction team and the project owner.

For additional information on any of these technologies, please contact me directly via Email and please specify what product you are interested in.

LinkedIn Secret Tools for Construction Business Owners and Business Development March 11, 2013

Posted by carolhagen in iPhone, linkedin, Social Media Tools.
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LinkedIn Secret Tools - Don't Talk Too MuchIn my attempt to help others leverage LinkedIn it dawned on me just how unfamiliar most construction business owners and their business development staff really know about LinkedIn and the apps that utilize it’s information. I have shared the “7 Lesser Known Apps to make LinkedIn Pop” and recognize there are more apps and tools to share that will improve productivity, garner deeper relationships and manage your connections. These are the Secret LinkedIn Apps to Success for Construction Business Development. Every SMPS member should be leveraging these tools and become more effective in managing their construction industry connections.

Evernote Hello (Android, iPhone) – Scans Business cards, automatically connects, makes meetings memorable. Great for prequalification presentations, jobsite, and pre-construction meetings!

CoBook (iPhone) Imports your contacts with Rich Profiles, organizes volumes of contacts with intelligent search by name, company or group. It also displays the local time for each contact – a handy feature!
To get it to work with LinkedIn, On your iPhone, open Cobook’s Settings and simply shake your phone. Aggregating your contacts in one place so you’re never caught without your contacts while at the jobsite.

Tout Email analytics, email templates, live feed interaction with links to call, email or access your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for personalized follow-up. If you don’t have a CRM solution you can import your contacts by group or association. Works with Outlook, Gmail and synchronizes with your LinkedIn Connections. The ultimate in easy follow-up to all your important construction meetings and business development opportunities.

Five Hundred Plus For those of you with over 500 LinkedIn connections, this personal CRM tool now has a team feature if you have team members nurturing a prospect. Keep you LinkedIn connections close and nurture referrals with those that influence the construction industry.

ProInsights.me (Android tablets, iPad and the iPhone) This app offers a better way to visualize your connections with infographics, has an intelligent search that’s useful for finding someone when their name escapes you. Sorry no videos available on this one but there’s a quick overview preso on their website. Most construction professionals are visual, so make your LinkedIn connections and relationships easier to navigate.

NoteLeaf (Android, iPhone and Blackberry) This is a fantastic app that takes your Google Calendar (Which I sync my Outlook too daily) and gives me a recap of who I am meeting with 10 minutes before my meeting on my mobile device. Although not currently accessible in beta trials, add your email and get invited to their official release. I’ve used this for over a year, keeping me informed with my construction prospects, influencers and customers.

Charliehq Another suggestion to sign-up for early. CharlieHQ will give you a reminder before a meeting and help you stay current with a contacts activities. Heard about this tool via my network. Looking forward to it’s release!

7 Little Known Apps to Make LinkedIn Pop! January 2, 2013

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, linkedin, Social Media Tools.
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LinkedIn Apps that Pop
LinkedIn is the king of Business to Business Social Networking but few have taken the time to learn the details of how to leverage their personal and company profiles.  Even fewer have found the real secrets of using applications that can extend the value to their email, smartphone or tablet.  Sure they have the LinkedIn App installed on their phone, but it’s terrible for  inviting people to connect with you on LinkedIn. One day LinkedIn will add a way to customize your invitation on their mobile app but who has the time to waste in this fast paced world?

These seven applications will help make  LinkedIn deliver business results and fulfill your 2013 resolution of leveraging Social Media. Best of all most of these apps are free to use (some offer premium services).

For People You Meet and want to Keep in Touch WithCardMunch is a Business Card App that transcribes contacts and connects on LinkedIn, currently for iOS only (owned by LinkedIn)

To Meet People When Traveling: HereOnBiz ( iOS only) is perfect for when you are looking to meetup with connections in other cities, and receive notification when connections that matter  are nearby or at the same event.

For People You Need to See More Often: HookFlash is a WebRTC app for video calls to your LinkedIn Connections ( iPad only)

To Keep Track of Who You’ve Spoken To and When: ConnectedHQ is a lite Customer Relationship Management solution CRM (owned by LinkedIn) which also incorporates profiles from Twitter, Facebook and Google+ providing a universal address book, comprehensive profiles, daily agendas and events.

To Showcase Your Expertise: Slideshare lets you upload your presentations and docs (owned by LinkedIn) so you can embed them on your LinkedIn Profile in the Summary, Education or Experience Sections.

To Keep Your Conversations Fresh: Rapportive is a Gmail  plug-in for access to LinkedIn, Skype, Twitter and Facebook profiles (owned by Linkedin)

To Find More Connections in Your Industry or Your Prospect’s Industry: Intro – Lets you define what industry and role you are looking to connect with from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MeetUp on iTunes and Android’s Google Play

Learn one App a day, and in a week you’ll be ready to make LinkedIn Pop! If you are in the construction industry, I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn to learn more about software, apps and construction specific tech topics a.

For more LinkedIn apps that have  working relationships with LInkedIn , check out  my Quora answer

photo credit: Adriano Gasparri via photopin cc

Top 30 LinkedIn Groups for Construction Business Development April 19, 2012

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, linkedin.
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Construction Business Development means Blowing Your Own HornLinkedIn has become the place for networking with the construction, architecture and engineering industries. With over 3,122,108
profiles world wide in the construction industry as of April 18, 2012 – there are more people to connect with everyday than we can ever approach for business development opportunities. The US has over 1,000,000 LinkedIn profiles in the construction industry and over 284,000 are construction owners. The best way to reach and influence this large volume of AEC movers and shakers is using LinkedIn Groups.

Keep in mind that joining a group doesn’t mean “Aha – look at all the people I can spam!” but rather “How many people can I honestly help” and “What can I share that will make a difference to each group member”. Business development also means more than marketing. We all need an education, to network with peers and with prospective clients. Be careful in joining too many groups or weighting them too heavily to your peers (I see this problem often), rather that to focus on your targeted prospects. Remember you are looking for business opportunities. Once you have a discussion going you can build trust and eventually set a face to face meeting. Yes, that’s still how it’s done in construction. So which groups seem to be most beneficial for construction business development professionals?

30 Best Construction Business Development Groups in the USA:

New Addition updated on May 2, 2012: Owner’s Representatives – see comments

A/E/C Industry Networking Group
AGC Construction Leadership Council
Architecture, MEP Engineering, and Construction (A/E/C) Networking Group
Associated General Contractors,Subcontractors,affiliates,
Business Development Forums
Business Development
Business Development – The Missing Link between Marketing & Sales
Business Development Leaders
CapturePlanning.com Business Development & Proposal Management
Construction Management
Construction Management Association of America
Construction Marketing Ideas
Construction Professionals Forum
Construction Users Round Table (CURT)
Design and Construction Network
Design-Build Institute of America
eMarketing Association Network
Federal Business Development Network
Federal Government Contractor Network (TFCN)
International Facility Management Association
International Council of Shopping Centers – ICSC
Leadership in Capital Projects (LinCP) Forum
Marketing Advertising Brand Management
McGraw-Hill Construction
Retail Industry Professionals Group
SMPS National CPSM Group
Society for Marketing Professional Services
Society of American Military Engineers
The HEALTHCARE DESIGN connection
The Owner’s Dilemma

Best Construction Business Development Groups in Phoenix
Alliance for Construction Excellence
Arizona Builders’ Alliance
ASU Arizona State University
Arizona Association for Economic Development
Arizona Land Development
Arizona Professional Networkers
CMAA Arizona Chapter
IFMA Phoenix
Society for Marketing Professional Services Arizona Chapter
ULI-the Urban Land Institute
Valley Partnership

Most of the national LinkedIn groups have 1000’s of members but a few are specialty niches. Some are construction or business development focused while others are not. The local groups are often more intimate with a few hundred members. Pick and choose wisely. Take the time to look at the membership statistics of each group. Sometimes more members isn’t better as the seniority and regional info is a tell tale measurement. Remember that balance is important and plan to participate after listening to the discussions that evoke the most responses. Finding what resonates in the group will keep you busy and make you more successful.

If you found this construction business development article helpful, I’d like to hear from you. Either connect with me on LinkedIn (say biz dev in the invitation and use the “we’ve done business together”) or leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Does a BIM Requirement Stop You From Bidding? January 10, 2012

Posted by carolhagen in BIM, CAD, Construction Industry - Software.
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Building Information Modeling (BIM) has become an industry standard on complex construction projects. As more Construction owners reap the benefits of BIM, more projects add a modeling component. While Architects grab Revit, the complexities feel insurmountable, especially for smaller contractors in the electrical and mechanical trades. An investment of 6-18 months and $80-100,000 is not uncommon to hear. So what is a smaller subcontractor to do?

Get Educated on BIM
The Associated General Contractors of America has an excellent publication “The Contractor’s Guide to BIM” that is a great place to start. Understanding the benefits to the Owner, Architect, Engineer, and subcontractor will make you more comfortable in the design and modeling process. It will keep you in sync with the jargon and help you see the benefits for marketing your firm.
Your local universities also offer training and educational programs as do the think tanks of the construction industry. The Alliance for Construction Excellence and the Construction Users Roundtable are excellent places to tap expertise, spot trends and peer into what the future holds.

Consider Outsourcing while You’re Learning BIM
With the economy still struggling, smaller firms that are already cash strapped will have to wait to train or hire a BIM espert for their firm. Doing a Google search for BIM outsourcing typically returns results outside your local area as the big firms all vie for Search Rank. You may want to ask your network connections, as many business who started in drafting and design have made substantial investments to offer BIM services to specialty contractors. In Arizona, my friend Donna Overton, owner of Draftek has done exactly that, offering electrical, mechanical, piping and fire protection modeling services. Watch this short video on the NAU Skydome work they delivered
and you’ll realize that outsourcing BIM is certainly a viable solution. Finding providers nearby also keeps your local economy humming.

Hiring BIM Talent is Quicker than Learning from Scratch
If you want productivity in BIM, hiring for experience is certainly quicker and easier to attain success and brand your new BIM department, albeit more costly. However, recent college grads are eager to learn and are great at augmenting a BIM department. Then you can mold your own model of a BIM professional without any “bad habit” baggage. Finding the right candidate and justifying a full-time BIM position will require a business development strategy to keep the BIM department busy.

Know Your Project Niches that Best Suit Your Strengths
Just because you have hired a BIM staffer shouldn’t mean you go out only bidding projects with BIM requirements. Business must always play to their strengths so the bulk of you projects should still be bid in the areas where you hold the most expertise. You wouldn’t bid a nuclear power plant if you never worked on any power plant before. Neither would you chase a GSA or other federal project without some experience in municipality or state work. Your BIM guy or gal should will be excited to work on more diverse projects that showcase their talents so BIM dry runs, where you are vying for the short list may help separate you from competitors. Remember to incorporate the technology in your presentations and practice the pitch.

BIM also Leads to other Technology
Augmented Reality, Laser Scanning, Immersive Environments and Digital Fabrication all are an extension of BIM. Just last week the Phoenix Revit Users Group had Jim Balding, founder and CEO of the Ant Group speak about where the new technologies are heading. Construction technology has just a short sprint left to a mobile, augmented future.

Don’t let BIM stop you from bidding. Tap into the expertise available and plan for your future. For some it may be outsourcing, for others it will be a BIM department. Just never stop learning as missed opportunities rarely resurface.

What questions do you have on BIM outsourcing and bidding do you have? I’ll tap my experts for the answers if I get stumped.

Construction: What’s Your “X” factor? December 22, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, project management software.
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Successful contractors know what their xfactors are and if they align with your supplier’s, employee’s or project owner’s interests.  Your differentiaters can attract talent, press and business. Just how do you leverage your xfactors?

Talent Attraction Xfactors

When it comes to talent, three items come to mind: culture match, reputation and technology.  The best talent looks carefully before putting your construction firm on their shortlist.  Smart leaders make sure all three shine through in their people, projects and on the internet. They empower their employees to showcase their work in the company intranet, and include employee stories in their newsletter.  They keep content fresh and update their blog when new technology is deployed in the office and field.  They share success stories on Facebook and YouTube that reach out to communities, showcasing company values, through volunteer efforts while making the content easily shareable. The message is human and caring. These same efforts often lead to free press.

Press Attraction Xfactors

Always looking for an angle, journalists love stories about overcoming obstacles, announcements that impact their community or improve the quality of life.  Your construction projects are ideally suited to these storylines. Building a bridge? Share shorter commute times, connecting commerce, job creation and closing gaps in your press pitch.  Now spin your xfactor into the story – your commitment to veteran hires or the  team diversity can reflect your company’s culture. 

Business Attraction Xfactors

Every completed project stands as a testimony to the special talents of the project team, but delivering on time and under budget doesn’t always convert to repeat business. 

Communication and shared core values is the key.  Setting clear expectations, how you handle crucial conversations and sharing key progress throughout the project  team is critical. Your emod factor showcases your commitment to safety, your ability to keep project costs lower and your business values are aligned with your entire team. If your systems are well defined, software can help with the deliverables, communications and the collaboration. So can smartphones, tablet PCs and iPads. 

Can a small firm (perhaps using Quickbooks) compete in technology? Surprisingly yes. Creating a central document repository, tracking milestones and collaborating can be done effectively and affordably without a Sharepoint Server. The key is delighting the team, especially the project owner.  Recently Corecon announced their new Team Link Portal which extends the project management activity out to the architect, engineer, subcontractor, supplier and owner.  Here are a few Screenshots:

Corecon Team Link Portal – Owner Project Financials Dashboard

    Corecon Team Link Portal – Correspondence Tab

      Corecon Team Link Portal - Correspondence Tab

      Making critical information accessible keeps people happy and coming back for more.  What I like about Corecon (and why I rep for them) is the straight forward approach, recognizing that small and medium sized construction firms, who don’t have full time IT staff actually have a competitive advantage. They’re more nimble. This and other xfactor offerings can help keep repeat business occurring and attract new business too.

      What are you construction xfactors and where do you share them? Please add them in our comments.

Business Development for Construction and the AEC Industry May 9, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software.
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Business Development in construction is successful when approached as a long term strategy. With all the social networks exploding many have suggested that LinkedIn is all you need for Business to Business. What I’ve found is that business development requires networking in person and that many conversations can begin or be nurtured on-line in social media. I’ve added extensions to browsers, applications to social networking sites and plugins to email to help the business nurturing process. Here are some of my favorites:

Xobni – A plugin for Outlook (and soon Gmail) that indexes your email and makes it easy to identify the social networks your contacts use. If you have an IT department, you’ll need to have your administrator to OK this.

Rapportive – A gmail add-on that automatically finds the social profile of the email sender.

WhoWorks.At – a Google Chrome (browser) extension that lets you see your LinkedIn connections while browsing a website. This is new but has huge potential once LinkedIn add a company API

Chrome extension for biz dev: how you're connected in LinkedIn while browsing web pages

Here's the WhoWorks.At results when I browse CFMA.org

Tweets – found in the LinkedIn application directory that shows you what connections use Twitter and provides updates from those you follow on Twitter inside LinkedIn. Great listening tool for business connection nurturing.

Signals – from LinkedInLabs.com that aggregates all the Tweets in your network and across an industry. Search for Construction and filter on a geographic area to see the Buzz of what’s being said.

LinkedIn Today – aggregates news feeds from many sources and serves a snippet of hot topics. You’ve probably noticed this just below your status when checking your connection updates. Construction specific if you use the filter.

With the LinkedIn IPO coming later this year, and McGraw-Hill freeing up some of their LinkedIn shares for it…I predict an uptick in LinkedIn usage in the AEC industry. Are the PR and marketing teams in your construction, engineering or architectural firm listening?

Now that I’ve shared my favorites, will you share yours? Please add your suggestions, comments and ask questions. I’m listening.

You may Find these related posts of interest:
LinkedIn Skills Beta: Claim Your Expertise

Tagging LinkedIn Contacts

Social Media a Twitter in Construction

LinkedIn Recommendations: The Service Provider’s Dream July 27, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in communication, linkedin.
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Recommendations are the life blood of most businesses. Somewhat hidden within the bowels of LinkedIn is the lair of the Service Provider Directory. It’s where you can give recommendations (even though you aren’t connected in LinkedIn). But more importantly it’s where the smart business people search for experts and read the recommendations of others.

You can find it under the companies search:

LinkedIn Search for Service Providers

LinkedIn Search for Service Providers

LinkedIn is a great place to search for service providers that your contacts or network recommends. This is particularly true if you fall into any of these categories:

  • Attorneys
  • Career Coaches
  • Chiropractors
  • Commercial Real Estate Agents
  • Consultants
  • Dentists
  • Event Planners
  • Family Physicians
  • Financial Planners
  • General Contractors
  • Graphic Designers
  • Insurance Agents
  • Lawyers Mortgage Brokers
  • Nutritionists
  • Optometrists
  • Personal Trainers
  • Photographers
  • Physical Therapists
  • Property Managers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Recruiters
  • Search Engine Marketers
  • Search Engine Optimization Experts
  • Tax Advisors
  • Travel Agents
  • Venture Capitalists
  • Veterinarians
  • Wealth Managers
  • Wedding Planners
  • Writers
  • LinkedIn Service Provider Recommendations for your 1st contacts The Service Provider Directory allows you to quickly discover, research, and reference check service providers in your network, in your circle of 2nd connections or the world.

    LinkedIn also includes the option to search locally to hone in on the closest, highly recommended specialists.

    Most of the IT and computer geeks I know have been using this feature but when speaking with business associates I find that less than 50% have used it. Guess LinkedIn has more training to do.

    Are you making the most of recommendations and have you given a recommendation on LinkedIn without someone asking? Please share what prompts you to give an unsolicited recommendation with our readers. If you found this tip useful, please share it, Like it or tweet it around the world.

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