Last month in this space, I reviewed a series of market projections for 2014 from Harvard University as well as the industry’s leading associations.
Find the Silver Lining
In business, like in our personal life, we have to find the silver lining in the forecast and how we might benefit from it.
I am just starting my vacation as I write this column. Writing this is my last bit of business to wrap up before giving my 100 percent focus to family, rest, relaxation and leisure. The weather forecast shows temperatures in the low 80s with a 30 percent chance of scattered showers and mild wind. Working with our DreamMaker owners and talking to many other companies in remodeling across the country, the economic forecast varies by location, too.
In business, like in our personal life, we have to find the silver lining in the forecast and how we might benefit from it. Depending on where you are from, the economic conditions have been changing since July 2005. Some of the early markets are now rebounding, while others are about as predictable as the weather itself.
What do we know about the weather/nature that could help us in business? 1) It goes through natural cycles and we can prepare for it. If you're in a rainy area, always have an umbrella handy, or if you have snow, have a windshield scraper. 2) The change in climate lets you know which kind of plants and trees best endure your environment. 3) We must plan different activities around the weather to receive the greatest benefits from what is available to us. 4) There is no one perfect forecast or climate for anyone who wants optimum health, personally or professionally.
- Concerning natural cycles and being prepared, the same holds true for marketing. We may find that we need to use different techniques for attracting new customers, i.e. proactive marketing, such as job signs, trade shows, direct mail and asking for referrals verses waiting on them. Are you prepared for the economic weather changes that come with the life cycle of a business? If not, it will be a much tougher experience, just as it is when the natural weather changes. The difference is that it is typically more costly in business.
- Natural climate changes affect the type of greenery that can survive and prosper, just as your company and the economic climate affect staffing. Often times in business, this is when you find out who is truly a right match for your company, team and culture. Even though it can be extremely difficult during these times, it benefits everyone. You're forced to lay off people or permanently let people go. If you choose well, your team will be stronger, and the individual who lost his or her job will have an opportunity to find a place that's a better match. It makes sense, but is just difficult to actually live through.
- Without planning, we miss opportunities that often are easy to see if we would just invest the time. It takes a balance of looking at history — let's say for budgeting — while looking to the future to predict expenses that will naturally occur or will need to be eliminated due to growth or a downturn of business.
I find it beneficial to have others involved in this process. Still, in the end, you and I as leaders have to make the final decision. In addition, sales is a critical area to make sure you have a solid system in place to maximize your lead flow and your company's sales efforts.
- As business owners, department leaders, etc., it takes adversity and challenges to sharpen our business and people skills. Without it, we will have a dull edge and will thus be ineffective and inefficient in dealing with the opportunities that are coming around the corner.
Equipped with the right attitude and perspective of shifting our focus off the bad conditions and onto the facts of a natural business growth cycle, we can make the changes we need to prosper to the next level of business and personal success.
Having checked out the weather on vacation, I am now prepared to enjoy and receive the greatest benefit of the time and opportunities available. When I return I will be better prepared to take advantage of and enjoy the business opportunities, the ability to touch people's lives in a positive way and the fun of business.
|Doug Dwyer is president and chief stewarding officer of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen by Worldwide, one of the nation's largest remodeling franchises. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.|