When you consider all the good things that can come from a down cycle in the economy, it is hard to be depressed about it. I am not referring to silver linings, but golden opportunities.
History tells us the end of a down cycle is one going in the opposite direction. If you must find things to worry about, you can begin worrying about inflation because if the economy recovers too quickly that may become a real concern. As we move through the down cycle, all the things that produce demand continue to move forward. This will produce pent-up demand for your products and services. Not a bad thing if you plan on being in business for the long haul.
Rebuilding Your Workforce
One of the perennial problems in the roofing industry is the lack of skilled roofers. As happens in a slow cycle, there are great opportunities to pick up some high-quality people. In a down market there is no room for extra people and certainly no room for underperformers. With more available talent in the pipeline, it becomes a good time to closely evaluate all your players and “trade up” at every opportunity as you build your team for the emerging recovery.
In addition to addressing who is on your team, a reduction in work allows more time to focus on training and the building up of your existing talent. The heart of any roof-contracting enterprise is the people who produce the work. Setting aside the time and money to build up your training program is always a great investment in your roofing company. This is a great time to focus on training as if you were getting ready for “the big game.”
I believe you are.
While you are building up your people you should consider their unique needs so you can keep them on your team. Make your roofing company a great place for the best roofers to work and you will both come out winners.
Bargaining for Your Future
Suddenly all manners of business services are available at bargain basement prices. This may not be the right time of year for your insurance review, but it is a good time to start shopping around. If you are in need of legal or accounting services, warehouse or office space, or even things such as solid-waste disposal, this may be a good time to negotiate a better deal.
It is not always the best thing for everyone, but many small businesses do well with bartering. There are reputable brokers who can hook you up with all kinds of bartering opportunities. Some of the advantages are obvious, but also include networking to develop future work. Doing business this way can require a bit more time from the roofing company owner, but leveraging your time for the best return on investment is the name of the game in a down cycle.
Depending on the market conditions and the needs of various businesses, this may be a great time to consider that merger or acquisition. This may be a good time to explore “out-of-the-box” options you may not have previously considered.
Bottom line is this: Great opportunities always exist in the market and a down market is no exception. They may be a little more difficult to ferret out, but they are there waiting for creative roofing contractors to scoop up.
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