I have a bad habit.
Every time my wife asks me to be home by a certain time for an evening engagement, I stay at the office too long. It drives Miss Barbara crazy because she hates being late.
The other night we had to be somewhere at 7 p.m. and I walked in at about 6:50. She was at the door waiting, keys in hand, so we hopped in her car. A few minutes later, we were waiting at a light when it turned green and the poor sap in front of us – who didn’t know not to anger my wife when she’s behind schedule – didn’t go. She hit the horn and at the same time she muttered, “What are you waiting for, a shade of green you like?”
How often are we guilty of sitting idle, just waiting for a shade of green we like? Our current economic situation, for example, changed the way we do business but it’s no time to be letting off the gas. Sure, it’s going to be years before we start seeing meaningful recovery, but that doesn’t mean the light isn’t green, even if it’s not the particular shade you like.
So, what can you do? To start, invest in training and education for your employees. Any dead weight is gone; the economy made sure of that – so start focusing on the core employees left. What can make them better and, in turn, make the entire company better? We’ve got a bevy of opportunities you can take advantage of in the education section of our website.
Next, start going after projects that are not your typical bread and butter. Look at projects in your area being specified for cast-in-place or competing materials and offer a precast concrete solution. I’ve seen this done successfully many times, including right here in our backyard. John Lendrum of Norwalk Concrete Industries turned a small slice of a downtown Indianapolis project into a much larger one thanks to some ingenuity and salesmanship. You can learn more about that in the Fall 2011 issue of Precast Solutions.
Last, start planning for the future. The economy is going to improve at some point and you need to be ready to take advantage. Any good business plan looks five or 10 years down the road. Take a good, hard look at your business plan and determine what you need to do, internally and externally, to win business in the “new normal” economy.
If you’re willing to work at it, there’s profit out there now and plenty more down the road. The light is still green, so rather than waiting for a shade you like, put your foot on the accelerator and be proactive in doing the things that will strengthen your company today and better position you for the future.
President, National Precast Concrete Association