A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Four Things for You To Do in a Down Market

This economy has not recovered by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn’t mean that you, as the owner of your construction business, should sit on the side of the road and whine about how bad it is and how you are going to “hunker down” until the market returns.

Do that, and when you stand up again, you will likely find that the business has changed and you are out of business.  Now is the time to move forward and to improve in those areas where you might not have focused your attention over the last few years when business was booming.  There are four things that you can do to strengthen your recovery and to get ready for business after the Great Reset.

  1. Consolidate your position in the marketplace.  Network with your peers, the architects, engineers, owners, bankers and especially your clients to get a better picture of how they see the business.  The competition for what little business there is in the marketplace will draw lots of new faces that want to take your clients away from you.
  2. Take additional market share.  Where you can, make bold moves to improve and increase your market share.  If you have solid reserves, you can bet that you will have visits from your peers who either want you to joint venture or partner with them.  They might want you to take on some of their bright stars to keep them busy.  They might even ask you to buy their business.  We have seen those actions before and we are seeing signs of consolidation and acquisition underway already.
  3. Improve your talent pool.  You will likely hear from solid performers who want to stay employed during the bad times and they will want to work with a strong team like yours.  Keep in mind that there are shortages already in some skilled crafts such as welders.  We expect that we will see major shortages in the mid-level, front line supervisors and foreman when the economy springs back to life.  Clean out or retire non-performing employees to make room for new talent.
  4. Train, train and keep training.  Not just for today’s jobs, but for the future jobs that will be there when the economy returns.  Check out the crafts, safety, language, project management and supervisory courses taught in-house, online, by NCCER or at your local community colleges and then make for certain that you support those programs fully.

The next two years are likely to be times of even more change and opportunity.  We, in the construction industry, sometimes have to wait for owners to decide to build, for the architects and engineers to plan and design the new buildings or roads before we can do what we do best, build ‘em.  That doesn’t mean that we should sit and wait.  Get out there and build for the future.

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