Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Economic Crisis – Challenge or Opportunity . . .

Yes! We face economic challenges in our business and personal life. Yes! Our country is enmeshed in a crisis of transition and adjustment. And, yes, we are challenged by the lack of cooperative research and understanding by the political pundits as well as those we have elected. Irrespective of the political party, we have expectations that they will be practical, pragmatic lawmakers who see beyond personal opinions and purposes – to perceive the needs of ALL their constituency.

We ask lawmakers, the press, the public and others to give credence and understanding to our challenges in the home improvement industry and to recognize that we are a $325 billion dollar industry. We are fragmented at best, entrepreneurial in our composition, employers of millions and the progenitor of products and services that were created to enhance the value of homes and continue to effectuate the American Dream.

We drive the market with creative advertising, install the products with unbelievable efficiency and, usually, with little disturbance to the committed lifestyle of the owners.

Our efforts give employment to those in factories, shipping companies, toolmakers, insurance companies AND to many industries, some of whom have little understanding of who we are or what we do. Our efforts have led to improve the real estate values of homes and increased assessments and created taxes for the communities in which we operate. And, by the way, those we employ pay taxes as do we and our companies.

By the very title employed to describe us – entrepreneurs – we acknowledge our role in the business structure – for in truth – entrepreneurs have the power to turn around this economy. We have shouldered our responsibility in the past. We will do so again.

Best regards.
Dave Yoho

Friday, April 24, 2009

Beware The Nattering Nabobs . . .

As you read in my last posting, I was commenting at the 2009 Home Improvement Economic Summit earlier this month, on those who denigrate, are critical naysayers and prophets of doom – usually the media.

I reminded those in attendance about a former, wordy Vice-President – I’m sure you remember Spiro Agnew. As you’ll recall, he eventually came into great disfavor and resigned from the second highest office in our country. Mr. Agnew labeled these purveyors of negativity I was speaking of, the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity. It really has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

No matter the ultimate downfall of Spiro Agnew, by our history, we understand that that the validity of any statement has little to do with the integrity of the person who made it. Facts still outweigh opinions and negativity is the enemy of your success potential.

Today we are excessively exposed to many nattering nabobs of negativity. They are in the person of our customers, employees, families and friends, the press and our leaders – many, who fall prey to this malaise and proceed to state their opinions as facts.

Why? I believe it’s because it is human – to believe and to want to believe that the newspaper, the radio and the television convey fact – and not to believe what you see and hear – which might demean you as ignorant.

Did you ever wonder why radio, newspaper and, particularly, television are each referred to as a medium. I believe it is a medium because it is rare that we see or hear news that is well done.

To prove my point, try this experiment for the next 21 days. Start telling your employees, associates, customers or clients – in fact, almost everyone you come in contact with:

That you – now know that in the U.S. we employ 92% of our employable workforce and that no country with a population of over 300 million has ever accomplished this.

Tell them that when our country is considered at full employment that the unemployment rate is normally at 4 to 4.5%.

Tell them that 90% of the mortgages in this country are paid on time.

Remind them that the highest percentages of mortgage defaults are in 2 states and a good percentage of foreclosures are on 2nd homes and vacations properties.

Remind them that in 1982 the unemployment rate in the U.S. was 10.7% and mortgages carried an interest rate of 15-20%.

Let them know that despite the demise of real estate values, most homeowners enjoy ownership and will continue to care for, maintain and improve their most valuable possession and the lifestyle it provides.

Portions of this last particular statement are supported by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Think about these statements and then consider if you want to buy into the, so called, facts we are hammered with from those nattering nabobs of negativity.

Dave Yoho

Friday, April 10, 2009

It’s History . . .

That’s right! The 2009 Home Improvement Economic Summit Conference is now part of the history books of our industry. On April 1st and 2nd, about 100 industry leaders representing the manufacturers, retail sellers, installers, trade media and providers of ancillary services to our industry, gathered at the Westfields Conference Center in Chantilly, VA. Additionally, we had industry experts who specialize in this industry in attendance and as speakers. They included an economist, a corporate lawyer, a CPA, a retail financing specialist, an energy specialist, an advertising specialist and Internet marketing specialists. This was a singularly powerful information event.

In future postings of this blog, you’ll read pieces of some of the massive body of information. But, to start off, here is a short piece from my opening remarks as I challenged those in attendance to participate with an open mind and be ready to consider new ideas during these critical times.

Abraham Maslow, a noted behaviorist who developed the theory known as “the hierarchy of needs,” also studied the concept of accepting new information. He concluded that you and I are at the top of our game when we reach that level when we are aware of – most – or almost all available knowledge in our chosen field. Maslow called this achievement our conscious competency. This is a time when you really know – and you know that you know – that you know. We’ve all been there.

Yet, Maslow dashes our hopes when he concludes that at this point in your learned process, you also measure any new information against that which you already know, thus, judging what is new – and most frequently settling for – what you already know.

Do not let it be denigrated or neutralized by the critical nay-sayers or the prophets of doom who permeate our sight and sound each day.

Some of these are in your own organizations or your circle of friends – while others are in the media – they, who by sight and sound, present themselves as expert prognosticators in a format where opinions are projected as facts.

The entire Summit Conference was recorded by Oakhill Press and is being produced into an eleven CD package with nearly 12 hours of vital information for anyone in the home improvement industry. There will also be a twelfth CD that will contain all of the PowerPoint presentations, some supplemental material and a special one hour bonus audio program. You can go to our Web site at www.daveyoho.com or call our office at (703) 591-2490 for more details.

Best regards,
Dave Yoho