Tough times call for smart investments

In what surely is the most brutal business climate in the "modern era" of power sweeping, getting the most out of association membership is perhaps more crucial than ever. When the business environment is easy, many businesses can be successful even if they are not run soundly. When times are tough, only well run and responsive businesses will survive.

It is safe to say that now, times are on the tough side. Fuel costs are ridiculous, much of the country is in an enviro-whacko cycle of persecuting any business that dare runs diesel engines, retail sales are soft, property groups are struggling to make ends meet, and tax revenues to cities, counties, and state DOT's are softening. Power sweepers are in a squeeze of declining revenues and soaring costs.

"We're down to counting paper clips now" said one NAPSA contractor off the record. "It's brutal." Another owner, speaking not for attribution, indicated that his company was "watching the bank account day to day for the first time in ten years," adding that "making payroll was something that again has to be planned for" on a weekly basis. The problems are obvious. With fuel leading the way, hourly costs are running out the back door of businesses faster than money can be brought in the front. There's nothing you can do about it, and it will likely change from the morning commute to the afternoon commute.

So what is a business owner to do? Obviously the strategy is somewhat different from company to company, but in such a climate strength can be found in numbers. Wisdom can be found in the counsel of others. The best source of numbers and counsel for power sweeping contractors is found in the North American Power Sweepers Association. In a time when finding a few hundred spare dollars is tougher than ever, investing that wisely is more important than ever. For current members, accessing to the fullest all of the financial advantages offered by NAPSA membership is also more crucial than ever, in addition to the availability of suggestions from others in the same boat.

The counsel of other contractors may be the last refuge for those of us in this business. There doesn't seem to be anyone in Washington or on Wall Street that has the faintest idea what they have wrought on this economy with energy policies more friendly to the Alaskan Caribou than to small businesses. The political party traditionally more in touch with the concerns of small business over the years is now dominated by politically correct lawyers, big corporate interests, and media types. The other side bemoans the loss of $8-an-hour textile jobs but sees no problem with outsourcing our entire energy industry to unfriendly countries. It's a mess...and there is no end in sight anytime soon. So power sweepers are left with a choice more stark than ever....hang together...or hang separately.

For more information about joining NAPSA visit www.NAPSAonline.com or contact the office at 269-383-6993.

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