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Watershape University (WU) is the result of decades of combined experience among some of the industry’s most accomplished professionals and educators. Our courses are designed to provide crucial knowledge for each student through detailed examination of technical, artistic and business disciplines.
We are constantly developing and fine-tuning course content and structure to enrich the learning experience across a spectrum of essential topics. Here are some courses and areas of study currently being developed.
BUS 1121: Guiding Principles, Objectives and Policies
●Develop a Business Plan.
●Write a Mission Statement.
●Review Guiding Philosophy and Principles.
BUS 1241: Elite Customer Service the Nordstrom Way
●Define why Nordstrom’s customer service is always best-in-class.
BUS 1321: Modern Marketing
●Discuss today’s marketing/media landscape.
●Review reasons why traditional advertising has become obsolete.
●Examine modern advertising/marketing methods.
●Identify lead-generation techniques.
BUS 1451: An Introduction to Estimating (webinar)
●Examine overhead, profit, markup, gross margins, profit-and-loss statements, and why to many contractors fail financially.
●List and discuss payment scheduling, managing cash flow, expense management, and linking income to project progress.
●Review steps you can use to advance and enhance estimating capabilities.
There are three primary reasons why construction companies have a disturbingly low rate of success (only 36/4% reach five years in business). Those factors include inadequate or inconsistent cash flow, overly rapid expansion (not turning down projects when they should), and low profit margins based on a failure to understand margins, markup, breakeven points, and accurate estimating. This online presentation touches on the basics of cost estimating and guides students toward improvements they should make in order to ensure long-term financial
BUS 2131: Anatomy of Design and Construction Contracts
●List key elements of design agreements and construction contracts.
●Discuss getting paid for design work, and fixed-fee vs. cost-plus billing.
●Examine best ways to charge for travel expenses and other reimbursable fees.
BUS 2611: Essential Business Workshop
●List important operational matters to consider when running a business, including general and administrative issues, accounting, finance and credit, human resources, information technology, legal concerns, marketing, advertising, and sales.
● Calculate markup to achieve an appropriate gross margin for you company considering overhead and profit.
● Interpret financial statements and develop strategies for growing the business, including subcontracting, leasing vs. buying equipment, return-on-investment, cash-flow management, and other important financial concerns.
● Discuss contracts, insurance, liability, and dealing with difficult employees or clients.
Operating a construction, service, or retail business can be a rewarding experience but it also comes with great liability and responsibility. This program is the product of decades of work and experience by multiple builders, a Certified Public Accountant and a lawyer who has owned multiple businesses. The 16-hour lecture is interrupted by a series of interactive tasks where the students analyze their own business in various ways. Students can even use their own financials to do some of the basic calculations in class, or in the privacy of their own office. A good design/build firm needs to be on top of their game on both the external client-facing work but also internally on the corporate/personnel-facing operations.
BUS 3121: Benchmarking and The Game of Work
●Define benchmarking and identify key metrics to track success.
●Discuss how to use benchmarking to gain an advantage over your competitors.
●List ways to make a job into a fun and profitable game.
●Explain Continuous Improvement and how to achieve it via the Game of Work.
BUS 3131: Preventing Litigation
●Discuss sources of potential liability, limitations of liability and ways to avoid liability.
●Describe key document including contracts, design agreements, soils reports, drawings, specifications and change orders.
●Describe how to handle potential litigation and what to do if you have a construction defect, warranty claim, or breach of contract issue.
BUS 3451: Essential Cost Estimating Workshop
●Describe correct markup and gross margin using accurate profit and loss financial data.
●Discuss payment schedules, cash flow, and construction contracts.
●Identify key factors for maintaining consistent payment schedules for project fees.
BUS 4461: Passing the Torch: Company Valuation & Exit Strategy
●Describe the often-tricky process of valuing your business.
●Discuss the importance of planning exit strategies, legacy and developing future leadership.
●Examine means to improve the value of your business.
●Discuss the process of buying and selling businesses and the details and avoiding pitfalls in the acquisition process.
●Design an exit strategy to sell, retire, or transfer operational control while still maintaining ownership.