Patterns

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Terry Sage of Trades Coaching New Zealand

Many people comment on the fact that you cannot predict business anymore.

In the past or, the good old days as some still call them, there were patterns to business. Things like “slower in the winter, busier in summer”, “quiet Mondays”, “manic days leading up to Christmas” and lots of other similar quotes.

Is it still the same? For some, maybe, but for the majority, no. The predictable patterns have gone, or most certainly have changed.

Why is it then, when you take two builders — same size, same reputation when it comes to quality and same geographical location — that one is struggling to find regular work and the other can’t keep up with demand?

Why is it that when there is supposed to be a boom in the making I get a comment from a builder in Wellington that more businesses are going under now than ever before?

Why, if there is lots of work out there, are builders still cutting the prices to win the work and throwing away their profits?

The why questions are endless. Now I could sit here and type rational answers to all these questions and, in many cases, they could be true, give or take a few variances here and there — but my point here is “patterns”.

If the patterns have gone or changed, how in the world can us simple tradespeople even start to plan what’s good for the future of our businesses? They don’t teach crystal ball gazing at tech anymore, and Google falls well short.

We could look for divine intervention and talk to all of that crowd — to be fair they built awesome buildings two, three and even four millennia ago — but they’re a bit out of touch with today’s building act.

A simple six word question like “so what are we left with?” unfortunately does not have a simple answer — and I can just hear a collective sigh and the words “I thought this geezer was a business coach?” echoing around the brain cavity.

Well, all is not a lost cause, and I believe the opportunities are there for the taking and that the time is just right to do so. Take the following as my reasoning for my prediction.

Yes, there is a so-called boom on the horizon. Yes, Auckland and Christchurch need some serious construction. Yes, the recession is easing. Yes, the country is showing growth figures. Yes, the election is over and we now have (maybe) three years of stability.

There are several more major yes’s I can add, but my point is the ducks are lining up and the time is now for you to take action.

“Yay!” I hear you shout, “show us the way”. The way is from within first. Now, that almost sounds like a bit of that divine stuff.

“Within” means taking a look at what you are doing now, making a plan, putting some budgets and cash flows in place, getting some systems working, building a strategic marketing plan, getting rid of those lazy time-guzzling employees (in a very ethical, legal and moral way, of course), and getting some financial reporting in place.

“Hang on a minute, that’s the stuff you have been ranting on about for the past 18 articles”, the lady in Gore shouts.

Yes it is, and it’s Business 101, it’s the basics — and by keeping business simple you have the tools to create your own patterns and take advantage of all the “lined up ducks”.

If you don’t, others will — and you don’t want to be another tradesperson going into real estate classes.

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