Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 – The Good, the Bad, or the Ugly?

Here we go again, another year, another dollar … maybe? Again, we find ourselves facing another year of “known’s” and “unknowns”. Unfortunately, the “knowns” are uninspiring, at best.

Where ever you turn. You read articles in the newspapers, or hear news clips from the radio, or watch the humdrum of TV news, either the economy is upbeat or down in the dumps. It seems that they can’t get the story straight. Then again, the media aren’t the media anymore.

The truth is, it is costing more to live, and it doesn’t look any better for the future. There is a drag on the economy, but it is making a slow rebound and there will be a great need for the services that our industry offers. However, emphasis is on the word "slow."

I do expect that government funded projects will stall dramatically due to deficit and debt that continue to grow at the state and Federal level. The crutch that has to be worn is that the Obama Administration really missed the ball with its stimulus debacle. Instead of throwing billions of our hard-earned tax dollars at silly partisan sinkholes, it should have plowed more money into the infrastructure and really kick-started the economy. After all Construction is the Achilles Heel of the economy.

If you remember, Vice-President Joe Biden broadcasted that as a result of the stimulus spending, it would be creating 500,000 jobs a month this year. Hmm? Still waiting!

Housing will be slow but the “Big Gorillas” of the new home industry, are buying tracks of land at discounted prices as they look to the possible future of building new homes. The truth is no one knows when that will be, so possibly they could have waited and bought it even cheaper. Time will tell the wisdom of this decision.

Interest rates will undoubtedly have to climb and wage earners have to be willing to spend, but with an unemployment rate that officially (that’s a laugh in itself) scratching at 10% (more like 18%) I doubt we’ll see many movements in that arena soon since so many are 'giving up' finding work rather than Amercians going back to work we can't believe the numbers.

Expect prices to rise dramatically as gas approaches $5 a gallon, which is on the near future horizon, but also understand why. As the Fed keeps printing money it devalues our dollar. Our dollar is the World Reserve Currency. Unlike other countries that have to buy US Dollars to purchase oil, we don’t so we’ve always had an advantage in the cost of oil being less for us. There is behind the scene meddling by a number of countries (China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India to name a few) to remove our dollar as the World Currency. If that succeeds, we could see $7.00 or more per gallon for the fuel that powers our economy. Watch this closely!

If interest rates creep up, I would expect a small flood of work to come on hand as owners attempt to take advantage of the last of the low interest rates. The only real problem is the banks. It appears that ‘holding’ money seems to be a better advantage for them until the Fed removes their “binky” and strips away the nipple that has been feeding them.

Therefore, I would expect service side of the industry to do well as owners want to keep existing properties up to date. Handyman services should also do well as homeowners look forward to repairing, as well as remodeling for those who want to update.

On the commercial side manufacturing and agricultural are showing signs of a strong comeback. Retail is at a crossroad. The holidays of 2010 showed many of them that they can make more money on-line than in the expensive upkeep of a box store. I would expect to see retail downsize it stores in lieu of the bigger profits that can be made on-line. Already, many big name brands are scouting this arena. Does that mean that shopping malls could be our next big ghost towns? Could be but only time will tell.

Hopefully, this year will be the last of the bottoms, and we truly start a climb out. I expect things to be slow, for some, they won’t even notice if a recovery is taking place. I don’t believe anyone can sit on the sidelines and wait. You must be proactive, get out and get your sniper scope clearly focused on what the prospective client is looking for and discover how you can get them to realize you’ve got it for them.

There will be sales out there, few but for those you have the ability to market your construction services will do much better than those who are sitting home waiting for the phone to ring.

Take heed in this advice, things are changing and you best change with them. If you are still stuck in the last century you will soon find yourself a dinosaur … extinct!

Marketing your construction services is the key to success in 2011 and beyond.

For those of you who serious about being successful in this economy and realize that change is necessary, you can spend three days with me in Orlando, Florida on March 21, 22 & 23, 2011. We’ll spend three days revamping your business plan and strategy so you can better position your business to getting more sales. This includes working on your marketing plan as well. Find out more at:

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