There was an interesting contrast in opinions at CEDIA EXPO last month regarding the effect the slump in the new home construction market has had on our business.
On the one hand, I overheard many custom installers complaining about how rough this downturn has been for them. In fact, industry legend Sam Runco even referenced these Waa, Waa complaints in his CEDIA Banquet toast on Saturday night, encouraging everyone to weather the storm and to do something about it instead being babies.
But just when I thought everyone was struggling equally, Id run into old friends from various parts of the country who would seem completely sheltered from recent market struggles. What was the difference?
The difference, I found, was that the folks who were not struggling were the ones that worked almost exclusively on the high-end. These were the dealers who had the reputation for quality workmanship in their market and whose clients were still building big houses in multiple markets or demanding retrofits in their existing homes.
The lesson is always to have a diversified approach to the market. You should never fully commit yourself to just high-end work or only production homes. Like a baseball player sitting on a fastball but able to adjust to a nasty curve, you should be nimble and on your toes as a business owner.
The worst thing you can do is to remain inflexible. I know this business is supposed to be fun, but sometimes it does become a job. Whether youre struggling now or not, its important that you assess your strengths and address your weaknesses. Everyone is going to struggle, and the best that you can do is be prepared.