Winter is coming


It’s true. Summer’s over, kids are back at school, and football season is underway, so yes, winter is coming. A disturbingly large number of today’s headlines foretell a different kind of winter, the kind that chills the economy. I’m talking, of course, about the “R” word: recession.


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  • “Cramer: Underlying economy is good, but fear could drive us into recession”


  • “Three reasons recessions fears have suddenly increased”


  • “Recession indicator with perfect track record flashing red”

—Fox Business

  • “Wall Street sees risk of recession rising”


Here’s the problem: as a businessperson, I believe that nothing good can come from this persistent drumbeat of doom. Once the suggestion takes hold with American businesses and consumers that a recession is imminent—if not already underway—then odds are strong that it’s going to happen.

I’ll never forget talking with an LBM dealer whose company was thriving and growing, despite our economy being in the middle of a recession. When I asked him why he believed his company was doing so well, while so many others were struggling, he replied with an answer that burned itself into my brain: “I chose not to participate in the recession.” Clearly, he didn’t mean sticking his head in the sand and pretending everything was fine. Instead, it meant operating as efficiently as possible, tapping fresh sources of revenue to even out the valleys, and working to constantly run his business better and smarter. In other words, he focused his energies on things within his control. After all, we can’t control the economy, but we can control how we run our business.

Then again, how do we know that the decisions we’re making are always correct? It can help to learn how other LBM pros navigate the same challenges we face. That’s why we conduct a monthly Real Issues survey, and share the resulting insights in the feature called, Real Issues. Real Answers. This month’s feature tackles the thorny topic of restocking fees. More than 200 readers weighed in on the question: to charge, or not to charge? In an industry defined by tight margins, a company’s restocking fees (or lack thereof) can have an oversized impact on its bottom line.

In an industry that still has a healthy percentage of independent operators, there’s a lot to be said for learning from others. Fortunately, our industry is populated with people who are willing to share and help other  companies grow and thrive. It’s that sense of community that drives every issue of LBM Journal, and is the soul of the annual LBM Strategies Conference.

Regardless the season, and the state of the economy, we’re proud to work with you to build your sales, your business, and your brand.

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