Construction in 2015 and Beyond

There is always the desire to look into the future and to see what is going to happen. If you knew stocks were going to plunge next Tuesday, you would sell on Monday. The farther out the “prediction”, the slower the return, if it comes at all and therefore the greater the risk.

So, when we look at 2015 and beyond many people think that it is too far off and you can’t have reliable predictions anyway. While that sounds good, there are many who predict and invest a lot farther out than that. Companies like Exxon/Mobile and Georgia Pacific both have 100+ year plans. That is what I call planning and predicting into the future?

But what about right here, can we accurately predict the future for construction? Dale Atkins with The Marketing Edge who has spoken several times at our Home Builder’s Association membership meeting has said that there is a correlation between collectable rent and home construction.

When rent goes up there is a greater interest to buy or build a new home. Prices of homes tend to go up because of the increase in demand. There will always be fluctuations, but there are also trends. And when you start looking for trends based on facts your ability to predict will greatly increase.

The hard part is not so much predicting the trend, as understanding what does that trend mean for me and my business. How do I use this information to position my business for growth and greater profitability when it comes? What threats will there be to my business that I need to mitigate before the storm hits?

About two years ago it was said at one of our meetings that the average age for a licensed plumber and electrician in our county was in the low 60’s. Although I haven’t been able to verify it, it is worth thinking about. So, what will be the net effect in the not too distant future? If you need an electrician or plumber it just might cost you a whole lot more than it does now. When finding a good plumber becomes difficult, it may have an impact on your schedule and the amount of work you can do.

According to the National Association of Home Builders in a recent article they are already seeing some difficulty throughout the country in finding roofers, framing carpenters and general carpenters. If the country sees an increase in the demand for construction, these trends will affect your business, the question is how? And is there anything you can do in preparation for this trend?

If you see a trend, that is great, but think about the impact. What if you and your competitor see a trend, how will that affect your business? What if they see a trend and you don’t?

As I am writing this I got an email from David Crowe of the NAHB Education department, talk about timing. They are promoting a “NAHB Fall Construction Forecasting Webinar” with special guest, Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, is on October 30th. You might want to check it out.

Taking some time to look at the future horizons, to set better goals and to make better plans is always a good investment of your time. So realize that you can predict the future or at least see the horizon better. The important thing is to see the how trends will impact your business and find ways to take advantage of the opportunities and minimize the threats.

When you properly plan into the future, you gain better control of your present.

Crossroads Consultants can help you to plan into the future while gaining better control for today.

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Does Success Breed Failure?

Success in and of itself can create a climate for failure. The saying, “What got you here, won’t get you there” (book title, Marshall Goldsmith) is appropriate for this thought. As difficult as it is to get to a certain level in business it maybe even more difficult to stay there.

Success, however you define it, puts you in a position of new opportunities and threats. Many stumble because they are not ready for the new policies, systems and habits that are demanded of them to be at that level and default back to old habits and safer waters. This is where some talk about the fear of success comes in. It may not be a fear of success (the outcome), but the change that it requires. Although the environmental change that comes with success can be disruptive, there are also internal changes that have to be considered as well.

When you are very busy you can create a routine or rhythm to your work that is very productive, but it can be very susceptible to change. If you push just a little too hard on your production you can make a mistake and send production into a tailspin. Or as the pressure for production decreases, you can become inefficient. You can lose focus on the new and most important tasks at hand believing you will have time to get to them later. But before you know it you are busy again and the important things didn’t get done.

Your ability to adjust to the pressures and demands on your time, energy and other assets is critical to continuing the progress of success that one experiences within their life. Without that ability to be flexible and focus on the important things, little errors creep in without detection and can become a major disaster without warning.

So how do you develop the ability to make the constant adjustment between super busy and bust? What does it take to smooth those ups and downs at least so they don’t cause serious crashes? There are two things you have to have.

You have to be able to keep perspective while still focusing on what is priority. You need to be ability to look at the big picture while also keeping a focus on key and critical details. In order to have perspective you need to be able to step back and grasp the big picture of your business. You need to be able to make accurate choices about what is important and what is not. Then you need to be able to focus your resources on getting the most critical, the key objectives accomplished.

In success your perspective is constantly changing because the world is changing by the minute or faster. Being able to focus energy and resources in the midst of change, on the most critical objectives is vital. So the reality is that you need to balance two totally different mindsets, big picture and laser focus. The right tools can help you to accomplish that juggling act. [that will have to be a different post]

Today is One of the Best Days to Start Your Annual Planning!

Today is one of the best days to start your annual planning, because you will shortly eliminate one major alternative. Up to now you had to play the “what if…” game.  You know, where you say “What if so and so wins?” Now it is full steam ahead with whatever is the outcome.

So where do you begin planning for the next 14 months? Decide what you would like to accomplish. Where do you really want to be by the end of 2013 and beyond? It is vital that you create a very clear description of where you want to be in your business at some realistic point in the future. Even if the results are delayed for days, you need to start here. The goal should be the same no matter the outcome. How you get there may change a little depending on the results. So go ahead and write out your goals.

The next part is the hardest and somewhat complex. You must determine, what is the impact of the election results on your business? Even though you are planning with the results in mind, there are still many unknowns about the political landscape to come. Try to make as many decisions as possible that are independent of what the government does. That is not to say that you should not take all of that into consideration, you should, but don’t keep waiting for someone else to do something before you act. You must act in today’s environment or get left behind with fewer clients and less profit.

A ten step outline of how to plan won’t do you any good if you don’t start with the first step. Describe your desired outcome based on a realistic time frame. Then determine the impact that this election will have on your customers. Put yourself in their shoes; include the winners and the losers (yes I said losers).  How do they feel? What are their concerns? What are their hopes? How does your offering impact their lives? Ask people who voted on both sides. Ask them for their thoughts now that it is over? Will they change their spending habits, etc.? Ask the questions. Once you have a solid handle on both sides of this issue then you can start to plan your next moves.

Let me know what you think should be the next move after these first two. Only after doing steps one and two should you think about moving to next step.