There is an old Chinese proverb: May you live in interesting times. The premise is that when things are going well and the living is easy, one tends to learn and grow less than when times are more uncertain. Well, I think it is fair to say most of us are being blessed with many opportunities to learn and grow, and we will be given even more through the New Year!
I want to share with you some thoughts about what you can do to take these interesting times and work in them without being destroyed. My perspective is a product of having run a remodeling company for 29 years and having worked with hundreds of remodeling contractors as a meeting facilitator and consultant for the last nine years. I try to find different ways of seeing the world.
What can you be responsible for?
As remodelers, we are very focused on results. After all, results are the reason why clients pay your company. Clients don't buy process.
In these times, it is very easy to get frustrated and depressed because the processes and actions that you have been taking for several years are not producing the same results. You cannot be responsible for results' not occurring. I can't stress that enough. Results are beyond your control.
You can only be responsible for what you decide to do and what processes and actions you decide to take — and for doing what you think will be effective.
The big challenge AND opportunity these interesting times give you is to examine thoroughly what you have been doing and to decide what you are going to do differently, with an eye toward the results you want. And I am serious that you regard this as an opportunity and not a curse. The only thing you can change is your attitude!
Marketing is a good example. Many remodelers spent money on different strategies that worked in the past. By “worked” I mean work was coming in and sales were being made. The question of whether or not the strategies were producing the work is a question that did not get asked as much or as often as it should have. When sales are happening who cares that much anyway?
Now the money to invest in the typical marketing strategies and their true effectiveness is becoming more apparent. Your choice is to keep doing the same thing or consider new strategies that are likely to be more effective and cost less to implement.
You likely already read about the power of face-to-face marketing. It is inexpensive and very good at creating relationships. Calling past clients, taking them to lunch, learning about them and simply letting them know you are interested in them is very powerful.
People buy from you if you have invested in creating a relationship with them. I believe what you can do for them is less important than how a potential client feels about you.
But, are you uncomfortable interacting with people? Does the whole idea of networking drives you nuts? And would you rather keep on doing what you were doing to generate business? OK, then be prepared to live with the same results! Instead, be the person you WANT to be, not the person you can get away with being.
As a leader, you are always sending messages to those you work with and for. What is the message you are sending? Are you doing what you say or doing what will simply get you by for now?
The strong will survive is a saying that can be applied to these times. I think that the truth is the people who are disciplined will survive. Doing what you know needs to be done, and doing it over and over, will be the keys to success in 2009.
Whatever your strategy, plan when you'll do it. Be 100 percent present. Track the results. If it is effective, keep on doing it. If it is not, then come up with something different.
We are what we do, not what we say. Perspective is key to success.
You will be challenged in the coming days, weeks and months. Embrace that fact, don't bemoan it. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
A powerful saying is “You can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf.” Never surfed before? In these interesting times it is time to learn!
|Paul Winans, CR, works with Remodelers Advantage, the premiere peer group and consulting company serving the industry. He is a founder of Winans Construction, which he and his wife, Nina, sold in 2007. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.|