Happy New Year! These three words always bring on thoughts of new beginnings and new challenges. I like that the beginning of the calendar year is the time when we look forward instead of back. It is the time when we resolve to do new things or to do old things better. It is the time when we like to make predictions for the coming year, knowing the odds of getting it right are really not that great.
In this column last year I made a resolution so this year I will change things up and make a prediction or two (knowing the odds, no less).
For the economy in our nation and in the world, I think the end of this year will look dramatically different than the beginning. The lack of growth experienced over the past few years will not simply drag along as it has. It is either going to take a turn for the better or return to recession. And I think we will all have a sense of it.
My reason to predict such a thing is the term “uncertainty,” which I hear or read at least three times a day. People and institutions are bound to figure out that “certainty” is a myth. Uncertainty is arguably a lot more normal than certainty. People who run small businesses, a category the vast majority of roofing contractors fall under, have always understood uncertainty. They just choose to ignore it and continue to move forward.
The restlessness that comes naturally to entrepreneurs will either infect the markets and get them going again or not. If they do, then I think there will be a real and significant turnaround for the roofing and construction industry. If they do not, then they will begin to retract and begin the trend backwards all over again.
Either way the markets go we still have some great things to look forward to in the roofing industry. I predict more roofing contractors will begin to define themselves in new ways as they adapt to changed markets. Many residential roofing contractors will consider themselves residential exterior contractors as they sell more siding, windows, doors, decks and other services for homeowners resigned to live where they are for the foreseeable future.
I believe there will be a continuation of roofing contractors putting their “green” proposition forward as they redefine their core business. And I predict the market, in spite of tough times, will embrace sustainability as a way of doing business related to their residential as well as commercial and institutional space needs.
The roofing industry will continue to be blessed with the fact that people and businesses and institutions all need shelter. Building owners might not like thinking about their roofs, but they have to love what roofing contractors do for them. Without a good roof the rest of the structure is not worth much. Yes, I am preaching to the choir, but even the choir needs to be reminded every now and then.
So it is best that I close with that reminder. We may not “have it made” in 2011, but we are in an industry that provides a vital service that will continue to be in demand. Of that you can be certain.