Come Out From Under the Covers!

Originally published: 03.01.09 by Ruth King

It’s time to get proactive again. Many, many times I’ve written that we all have choices aboutwhat we do in tough times. Some people figuratively crawl under the covers and wait until the media says the bad times are over to do anything.They live in the reactive mode rather than the proactive mode. The good times will be good for them. The bad times will be bad for them.The tough people keep making telephone calls, talking with clients and prospective customers, and they keep a positive attitude. The good times will be great for them. The bad times won’tbe too bad for them —maybe the bad times will even be good.Are there tough times now? Absolutely. Are there still people buying?Absolutely. As Mike Ratchford,one of the HVAC Cool Track leaders, has said, the days of consumption are over. The days of value buying are here. Are people still spending money? Yes. Are people going to think before parting with their money? Yes. You need to give them a good reason to do so. Someone is buying something every minute. They might as well be buying it from you.I’m working with, and know of, contractors who have prospered in 2008

despite the down economy. I talked with one contractor who complained that he was going to earn only 10% in 2008. Some gave tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses because they had great years. Otherswere busy throughout the holiday season. Still, others have bought themailing lists and telephone numbers of companies who have gone out of business. They’ve found customers and niche areas that arestill growing and need HVACR or allied services.They’ve all continued to talk with their clients and customers.So, what do youdo when your back isup against a wall? Gothrough last year’s servicetickets. You’ll findwork there. Go throughlast year’s proposals thatyou never closed. Findout what happened.You’ll find work there. Entice them with free groceries—everyone has to eat!Look for growing industries in your area. Remember that the tobacco, liquor,and cosmetic industries havealways thrived during recessions and depressions. Companies in all of these areas all need HVACR work. People who work in these industries need heating and air conditioning in their homes.Do something positive every day. Don’t go to sleep listening to the news.That’s depressing and will stew in your subconscious mind all night. Read,listen, or watch something positive instead.  Talk with a customer or potential customer every day. Call people rather than wait for the telephone to ring.You’ll ease the pain of the bad times and potentially turn it into good times for you. 

Ruth King has over 25 years of experience in the hvacr industry and has worked with contractors, distributors, and manufacturers to help grow their companies and become more profitable. She is president of HVAC Channel TV and holds a Class II (unrestricted) contractors license in Georgia. Ruth has written two books: The Ugly Truth About Small Business and The Ugly Truth About Managing People. Contact Ruth at or 770.729.0258.

Articles by Ruth King

Your Receivable Days Ratio: Do you have a Collection Problem?

The Receivable Days ratio tells you whether you have a collection problem or are heading toward one. It lets you know how quickly you’re being paid, and whether you’re being paid on time.
View article.

Your Compensation Percentage: Are Your Employees Productive?

Even if liquidity ratios are stable or increasing, showing increasing profitability, compensation percentages may show a different story. If compensation percentages start to increase, there’s a productivity problem.
View article.

Understanding Profit and Loss Statements

A P&L, or income statement, is a vital document for good fiscal management.
View article.

3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Bottom Line

Businesses can improve profitability in many ways. Some require making substantial investments, such as buying new equipment or expanding marketing efforts. But there are inexpensive ways as well. Here are three.
View article.

Increase Profits Without Price Increases

One of the toughest things owners and managers have to do is to productively manage a labor force. But companies that manage their labor and their inventory effectively are among the most profitable.
View article.