September 15, 2009

Are You Ready for the End of the Recession?

By Paul Bieber

“Hey, Bieber, what are you talking about…I’m not worried about the end of the recession…I just want to survive during the recession.” So I said to Negative Norman, “You have to look ahead, and here is what you can do.”

First, accept the fact that the recession will end. They always do. Your job is to decide when it will end for your business. You want to be taking actions three to six months before the business turns around. When will it turn around? Look at the leading indicators in your business area. Are there building permits being pulled? Are the drafting services starting to get busy? Are the architects calling for specs? Is there a new Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks going in the area, or being renovated? Watch the big companies, and you don’t need your own economist to advise you.

Once a month, call the human resources office at the biggest company in your area and ask if they are hiring. If they say no for the next two months, and in the third month, they say yes, that can be your signal.

OK, you feel the economy may start growing again, what do you do?

  • Get all vacations out of the way now. You don’t want people taking time off when you want to respond to business.
  • Get your trucks fixed up, painted, cleaned, and ready to roll each day.
  • Finish painting and decorating your showroom; people will be coming in. Replace the burned out light bulbs and update your displays!
  • Finish the computerization you have been working on. You don’t want any distractions.
  • Meet with your vendors to get current pricing on your main products, with the intent of increasing volume. Most glass fabricators are hungry and will respond well to this.
  • Look at a few new items to carry in your showroom…maybe a wood or vinyl window, how about a sandblasted shower door.
  • The hottest thing I keep seeing is color infused glass. Lear more about this from your fabricators.
  • Get current literature and specs on the products you currently work with. Be ready to quickly respond to architects and builders about the energy-efficiency numbers of low-e.
  • Spend a couple of bucks and get your crew new T-shirts. Nothing spells success like a sharp looking installation team, and nothing is worse than a poor looking team when someone walks into your shop.
  • Get rid of the trash around your building. Customers don’t want to buy from a junk dealer, and if they do, they are not the customers who will be spending the big bucks.

The single most important thing you can do? Set your attitude to positive. Let your employees know how you feel, and make it infectious.

You may be off by a month or so; so what. The economy will turn, I personally guarantee it. I just don’t know when for your area.