In this episode we interview Paul Beers, founder of GCI Consultants. Paul shares his insights on starting and growing a successful consulting business.
About Paul Beers:
[Learn more about Paul Beers]
Paul E. Beers established GCI Consultants in 1988. He has over 25 years experience in the window and glazing trade and with building envelopes. He is a leading expert with glazing systems and hurricane damage and protection. He was instrumental in the development and implementation of missile impact tests after Hurricane Andrew hit Dade County, FL. He has served as an expert witness in federal and circuit courts for windows, doors, glass and wall systems and water leakage. Over the past 17 years he has built GCI Consultants into a leader in the industry. GCI Consultants provides specialized consulting services for new and existing buildings world wide.
- Paul Beers started out as a construction laborer and carpenter during college, then moved into window installations. In the late 80’s he began to develop his expertise in building envelopes, including serving as an expert witness for water damaged properties.
- David Begin and Paul mentioned Strategic Coach. This program has helped him with goal setting, value creation and most importantly with understanding his unique abilities – focusing on what he is good at and building a team around him that compliment his skills.
- One of his biggest challenges early on in building his company was the transition from single-expert to a group of consultants working together.
- An ongoing challenge with a consulting organization like his is maintaining effective communication. They are a virtual company with employees in the field or working remotely. They can go up to a year at a time without seeing each other, and are always looking for ways to improve communications. Paul mentioned Basecamp as a tool they have used to help stay in touch on projects
- His business is somewhat dependent on the economy, which requires careful planning and diversification to plan for the downturns. GCI has been able to do this and perform well in the boom times and during economic down cycles.
- What makes GCI unique? They fill a specific niche in their industry. They help clients reduce the risk and liability related to water penetration and damage to buildings. They are experts in a very specific area of the process – the building envelope. It’s about focusing on what they do well and complimenting the building process for a building owner, contractor, architect, engineer, etc. GCI understands how to save their clients money over the long-term by helping them reduce risk, helping prevent a catastrophic situation and avoid costly litigation.
- Paul has grown his business through client referrals. They deliver excellent customer service throughout the client engagement, which has resulted in a great reputation in the industry.
- What technology have they implemented at GCI to improve their operations? GCI has moved to a paperless office leveraging cloud-based systems and tools. This paperless approach has saved money, improved efficiency, and it’s also vastly more secure (from natural disasters like hurricanes!). They have used Upwork (formerly oDesk) to outsource administrative tasks, and Paul works with a virtual administrative assistant through Delegate Solutions.
- Find out more about Paul Beers and his company at the GCI Consultants Website.
Books mentioned in this episode:
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