As a new year gets up and running, there’s no shortage of predictions and forecasts for what’s in store for the residential construction industry in 2018. There will always be unknowns and unexpected surprises along the way, along with plenty of things we can’t control. Fortunately, there are plenty of things we can control that can make a tremendous impact on how our businesses are positioned as 2018 rolls over into 2019. To succeed in our business, it is critical that we be able to adapt to reality as it morphs through the year. But that doesn’t minimize the importance of starting the year with a fresh set of must-do action items. Here are my suggestions to consider for 2018:
- Focus on company culture.
The importance of this concept came across loud and clear at the 2017 LBM Strategies Conference. With unemployment at rock-bottom levels, and strong demand for experienced industry pros, it is critical that companies build a culture that keeps existing people happy and that attracts new people. If you’re interested in learning what leading companies do to successfully recruit, hire and retain good people, you need to read the commentary by Erin Plummer. Erin addressed this topic under the title, “The Law of Attraction: How to Make Your Company a ‘Best Place to Work.’”
- Seek fresh opportunities.
One thing that successful companies have in common, is that they’re always on the lookout for newer, better ways to serve their customers. For three excellent examples of companies who are expert at identifying opportunities—then delivering just what their market needs—I urge you to read about our 2018 Entrepreneurs of the Year. Since the entrepreneurial spirit thrives in companies of all sizes, we recognize companies at all revenue levels: Stine Lumber (more than $50 million); Wehrung’s Lumber & Home Center (sales of $10 million to $50 million); and Limeberry Lumber (sales of less than $10 million). We applaud these companies for going above and beyond to deliver value to their markets.
- Connect, learn and grow.
Many of our readers are independent companies, a fact that comes with its own inherent challenges and opportunities. One key challenge for company owners and managers is to make time to step away from the day-to-day business, reflect on what’s going well and what could be improved, then, get fresh perspectives from other dealers who face the same challenges. Every issue of LBM Journal is built to those specs, to give you insights to help you grow your business. If you’re serious about making genuine connections with other dealers and industry leaders, I strongly encourage you to watch for details on LBM Strategies Conference 2018— then lock those dates into your calendar, and throw away the key.
If NAHB and industry prognosticators are right, 2018 should be another rocksolid year, with another modest increase in housing starts. Here’s to working together to make the most of 2018 for you and your business.