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George Hedley article

Jeff LeCours

New member
I got this a while ago, but figured I would share it. Thought George was great at the convention. I was talking to George and he just wishes he had more time, he has much more to present. In depth cost estimating, more on the subjects he touched on and on and on. I would like to see him again.

Can You Make 2009 Mighty Fine?

All I hear is how bad the economy is and how it will get a lot worse before it gets better. Things are totally out of control and you don't know what to do next. You think you've got problems? Last year our lender on a $20,000,000 project we were building and developing called and asked if we could stop construction. Stop construction? The grading was complete. The underground was 75% installed. Footings were poured. Steel and trusses were out on the jobsite. Stop? What were they talking about? Guess what? They weren't kidding. They really wanted us to stop, close down the job, and find a new lender to take over the financing on the project. So they stopped all funding and didn't finance several months of construction activity. Fast forward one year later. We are suing them for breach of contract and still haven't gotten paid for millions of work performed.

How can I plan for that and run my business like a professional? Perhaps I will get some of the bail-out money!

In today's strange and unpredictable economy, you have to expect the best and plan for the worse. Your choice: loose sleep or do your best to make 2009 mighty fine. I spent the holiday week enjoying our family and friends, golfing in the Palm Springs area, watching USC win the Rose Bowl big, and planning for the new year's challenges.

What's your decision about the future? What must you do to make 2009 mighty fine? Where should you cut your expenses? What strategic alliances should you reinforce? What new ideas should you start implementing? What customers should you fire? What new customers should you go see? What equipment should you get rid of? If you drive by my office in Costa Mesa, CA you'll see a big "For Sale" sign on it. No we are not closing as it appears. We're reducing all of our unneccessary expenses to the bone, and resetting our cost of doing business so we can make a profit and grow in the new smaller economy with realistic revenues we can anticipate. This was a difficult decision. What difficult decisions will you make? The choices are yours.

I suggest your new approach to business is to face reality. For most business owners and contractors, the worst is over. You have most likely cut your field or operational payroll in half. But you probably haven't cut your overhead costs and your personal living expenses yet. Why not? What are you waiting for? Your revenue will likely be reduced to 60% or 70% of your highest level you achieved over the last few years. And your gross margins will also go down 25% as you try to stay busy and compete with desperate other businesses scrambling for the same job opportunities. I have seen bid lists grow from five or six competitors to fifteen to thirty in most cases. I get calls every day from subcontractors wanting to be on my bid-list. Everyone is scrambling to stay alive.

But, business just isn't there. You must FACE REALITY NOW! You can't afford to anticipate and plan on what you did in the past. You must cut to the bone and figure out how to run your company to make a profit with reduced revenue. Or you will die a slow death paying for your losses from your savings account. Whatever you anticipate sales to be in 2009 is the number you have to work with. It might even be lower than you think or hope for. Note: This is not what you did in 2007 or 2008 - those days are over!

Remember when you were a much smaller company? You were happy and making money. Well, now you must return to that level so you can start growing and building again. But only after you have reduced your overall cost of business to that past level. Starting small is fun and gives you a positive outlook on the economy. You don't have to keep so many people busy. You can again take care of your customers the way you used to. And you can have a little more time off for good behavior. It's time to get growing again. Do what you know you need to do and start being positive about your future! Now go and make 2009 might fine!

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To your profitable business success!

George Hedley
George Hedley, CSP
Hardhat Presentations
3189-B Airway Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
800-851-8553 ext 17