4. Utilize networking and learning opportunities. Don't underestimate the importance of established formal and informal communication networks. Challenges your company faces are probably the same that other firms are currently facing or have faced and conquered in the past. Reaching out to these professional networks provides an opportunity to brainstorm real solutions.
Locally it might be difficult to speak with competitors about common challenges and solutions, but as long as both parties benefit from the communication competition concerns can be mitigated. If you are concerned about speaking too openly with local competitors attending regional or national industry conferences such as the National Pavement Expo provides the opportunity to speak with professionals in your industry that are not local competitors. Use these opportunities to seek solutions to your challenges, and don't forget to speak with vendors about new products and technology that might benefit your business. Two heads are better than one, and through networking you can tap into the experience of hundreds of people.
5. Improve your coordinated sales and marketing efforts. What is the difference between advertising and marketing? Again, like throwing a net for fishing, advertising is throwing a net into the water for fish; marketing is throwing the net where you know there are fish and where you have caught fish in the past. Improve your ability to attract customers through targeted marketing, focus on additional business from key customers, and coordinate all your company materials and employee training so there is a common and professional message that attracts business.
6. Sow seeds now for future harvesting. As previously stated, many individuals and firms reduce their construction or maintenance budgets during difficult economic times. While this is currently unfortunate, it will result in a backlog of maintenance projects that will be larger, more numerous, and more costly in the future. Develop relationships with potential customers and foster those relationships even if you are not getting their business right now. Then in the future you will be positioned with the key relationships to take advantage of numerous previously postponed projects.
While times may be difficult during this period of economic uncertainty, now is the time to do more than just survive. Focus on internal efficiencies, business and employee development and building key relationships that will provide monumental rewards when the economy improves.
Jared Everett, president of Everett Professional Services, has a unique perspective on the pavement maintenance industry as he has been both a buyer and seller of services. He is a regular presenter at National Pavement Expo West and can be reached at 2274 Elderberry Place, Boise, ID 83706.