What have you done this week to inspire your customers and employees to be excited about your products or services?
What have you done this week to inspire your customers and
employees to be excited about your products or services?
Perhaps your business is doing OK, but not thriving. Maybe
you are struggling to keep the doors open. And because of these conditions,
you’ve focused all your time on cutting expenses, lowering overhead, and
serving your remaining clients.
If so, it’s time to rethink your priorities. Quickly.
I’m not dismissing hunkering down. There are times in a down
business cycle where we all have to do it. This recession has been brutal to
everything related to construction, remodeling, and maintenance.
But there comes a point when hunkering down is counter
productive. Fatigue sets in and weakens your staff. Customer contact suffers.
There are ways to counteract this downward cycle.
pride in what you’ve accomplished during this economic storm.If you’ve
made it this far, chances are good your company is going to survive and be
well positioned for success going forward. Praise your staff for helping
you get to this point.
forward and cast a vision.Don’t dwell continuously on your current
challenges. Look ahead and share your positive vision with your staff and
on innovation. Yes, I know your budget is down and it’s hard to invest.
But imagine how motivated your staff will be when they brainstorm, create, take risks and share new ideas/products to your customers.
I saw how innovation can energize people while attending the
AHR Expo in Orlando
last month. Two of my stops included boiler companies that were introducing new
products at this major HVAC trade show. If boiler companies can be innovative
in the midst of a huge construction decline, the rest of us have no excuses.
In both cases, their press briefings and product demos were
packed. More importantly, their booths were humming, as potential buyers were
drawn in by innovation.
One company, Lochinvar Corp. (www.lochinvar.com), introduced a variety
of new water-heating products. These products featured increased energy
efficiency, consumer convenience like touch-screen controls, and even solar water
The Lochinvar team created numerous reasons for staff to
engage customers and prospects. They continued investing in R&D, which resulted
in lot of curiosity.
A second company, The Fulton Companies (www.fulton.com), also took the innovation
route. They introduced several models of geothermal-based water heating
products and the AHR crowd was intrigued. Several attendees stayed after the
product demo to ask questions.
Likewise, many other companies introduced new products and
services at the AHR Expo, the International Builders Show, the Surfaces Show,
and the World of Concrete in the first two months of 2010. Many booths were
packed, but some were empty.
My guess is those companies still innovating drew crowds, energizing their staffs and developing momentum. Most likely, they will be better
prepared to rebound as the economy improves.
Next week, why not set aside time to brainstorm and think
creatively with your staff? What new product or service can you offer? How will
it benefit your customers? How should you market these innovations?
Although I cannot guarantee immediate financial success, I
can promise this exercise will refresh your staff. It will give them a positive direction and
energy. Right now, that could be a game-changer for companies stuck in a slump.
Innovation Still Matters
By Tim Fausch
Tim Fausch is publishing director of BNP Media’s Architecture, Engineering & Construction and Mechanical Systems Groups, a collection of more than 20 trade magazines, Web sites and e-newsletters. Just don't ask him to use any actual tools.