Closing the books on 2008

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Predictions by both the Joint Center for Housing Studies Remodeling Futures Program and NAHB are for another year of decreasing revenue, but national forecasts have little bearing on the course you should map out for your business.

December 01, 2008

 

Michael R. Morris

Editor in Chief

As you close the books on 2008 and begin to write your business plan and budget for 2009, here are some things to keep in mind.

If 2008 was a difficult year for you in terms of sales or profits, you should expect it to get worse in 2009 and plan accordingly. Predictions by both the Joint Center for Housing Studies Remodeling Futures Program and NAHB are for another year of decreasing revenue nationally. The catch is that there is no national remodeling market to speak of, so national forecasts really have little bearing on the course you should map out for your business.

All remodeling businesses are local, and your specific market conditions will never match the predictions that come out of Cambridge or Washington, D.C. This means you need to make your own predictions based on the trends of your recent business results and the conditions affecting your market.

I just returned from giving a presentation on strategic marketing in today's economic climate to the local NARI chapter in Boston and the local NAHB Remodelers chapter in Jacksonville, Fla., and I found that many companies of similar size, sales volume and business model were having wildly different results within the same market.

What this proves is that not only does your market affect how you should plan your business' future but that there are traits unique to every company that also have a tremendous impact on your business results.

The best way, then, to set your 2009 business goals and be able to sleep soundly at night in today's economy is to know your company inside and out. That begins with knowing precisely who your primary target customers are, what will motivate their decision to remodel right now, what your best sources of producing leads from that customer are and how many leads you can realistically expect to convert to sales during the next calendar year.

Armed with this knowledge, you can then begin to build your marketing budget, sales strategy and optimal workforce to be able to execute a realistic plan for a successful year.

While you're at it, I'd suggest you also read Vince Butler's column, “Let the Survival Tactics Kick In.” Vince has navigated his company through uncertain times on more than one occasion and provides a sound strategy for how to create a practical business plan that will give you the best chance for success in 2009 and set you up for a prosperous future well beyond just next year.

Contact me at michael.morris@reedbusiness.com or 630/288-8057.

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