Remodelers need to think through all changes in overhead and staffing to survive the worst case, it will force you to deal with your fear and your budget.

November 30, 2008

Doug Dwyer
Contributing Editor

Have you completed your budgeting process for the new year? With most of us experiencing a challenging year, it is tempting to think the worst for 2009 and believe it will be less successful than it can be.

Is this a good or bad thing? I say, it depends! From a budgeting standpoint, it is prudent to have a worst-case-scenario budget. But from a leadership and sales perspective, that can be a business death sentence.

Let's look at the positive of worst-case thinking within your budget. First, if you do a good job and really think through the changes in overhead and staffing to survive the worst case, it will force you to deal with your fear. Fear, if not faced, can be paralyzing to you as a leader and manifest itself in some subtle, but very unhealthy attitudes and behavior.

Cutting overhead is hard and it is difficult as business owners to deal with ending working relationships we have had for 5, 10 and 20 years or longer. Unfortunately, life and business have some very hard realities we must face to preserve what is left for us and our remaining team members. If we don't, then we risk losing it all because we put our head in the sand due to fear and the pain of change.

Although I have not found this process enjoyable, it is necessary to progress. We must develop the mental, emotional and spiritual toughness to succeed as business leaders. I wish it were different, but it is not. The key is to remain caring while thinking through and even making these tough decisions.

We cannot control how people will react when we have to make a change. Yet we do control how we handle the situation by giving and showing them dignity, honor and respect.

With this hard but necessary part completed, adjusting the numbers in your worst-case-scenario budget is the easy part.

Now here is where the danger lies: If you don't shift gears into also developing separate realistic and dream budgets and business plans for 2009, then you will most undoubtedly get your worst-case scenario. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy and could be your business' death sentence.

Remember, I said it was prudent to do a worst-case-scenario budget. I didn't say it was wise to have that remain your dominating thought as you lead your team. The old saying is “Expect the best, but plan for the worst.” So, shift your mental, emotional and spiritual focus and energy to how to make your realistic or dream budget come true.

What I find amazing is that if you will do this work, you will have reduced or eliminated your fears because you are prepared, and you are free to focus on the possibilities. I highly recommend seeking the support of trusted business friends or consultants to aid you through the process. One simple reality is you may need to hire an accountant to help you with the actual number crunching so that it gets completed in a timely fashion and creates some accountability.

There are some wise proverbs that can help guide us through these difficult times. The first is “the prudent see danger and take refuge but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” A different and even more straight forward translation says, “A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.”

Don't just ignore what is going on; go ahead and make the changes based on your current realties.

The other proverb is, “So as a man thinketh so shall he become.” If you think the worst all the time with fear, worry and doubt, then that's what you will get. But on the other hand, if you think there are people out there who need remodeling work done, positive things can happen for your business.

At DreamMaker, we believe that there are potential clients who are tired of waiting to remodel because of all of the uncertainty, and we think, “I am going to help make their dream come true,” thus creating a bright spot in their life in spite of the current economic environment and negative daily news.

As you work through your 2009 budgeting and planning process, I encourage you to read Chapter 9 of Joel Osteen's book “Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential,” which shares one man's story about the power of what we believe. I think you will be challenged and encouraged. This story has been used by many authors and speakers, yet this one is written in a way that is quite fitting given our current challenges.

Author Information
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 doug.dwyer@dwyergroup.com.

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