The government has shut down and much of that is just a symbol of how dysfunctional our leaders are. However, it also means many federal employees will go home without pay. Unless, that is, you are a member of the United States congress
I know class when I see it and Mariano Rivera personifies everything about what it means to be a class act. Whether in life, business or sports, striving to be the best is what we should all aspire towards.
My life has revolved around negative thoughts, keeping me from focusing on goals that would better my life. Last year, all that changed. With the insertion of therapy, the hoarded clutter of half empty thoughts began clearing and I began to stop focusing on the negative. Since then my excitement and realization of this business being a positive thing rather than a burden has made my life so much better. I am excited to come to work and do my best to grow the company. Being able to stop focusing on the negative thoughts and move to a positive mind has helped me be a better entrepreneur.
The change is apparent when I hear customers and friends who come to our fabrication shop always taking a negative stance first. Whenever I ask them how business is going they usually start with things are slow or it could be better. Phrases I used to say all the time.
These days, I start with the excitement of growing the business, getting the financing for new equipment or focusing on the jobs we currently have and how we can grow relationships with customers. I have been and still am learning to stop focusing on the negative thoughts that lead me to stagnation. Noticing others responses make me realize that the negative thought train is full of passengers.
Since we received the good news about financing for our new CNC plasma cutting machine, more people have asked me if I was scared rather than excited. Their first thought is always fear. It makes being optimistic about anything difficult when all you hear is negativity.
I always start my response positively with excitement about growing the business, looking to the future for more business opportunity and moving forward at all times. Up until this point my life has been ruled by fear. Will there be enough business? Hope that customer comes back. etc...etc. It got me nowhere but depressionville. Something had to change.
Negative things are always going to happen in life and business. However, there is always two sides to each and every story. There is always a positive. The key is to stop focusing on the negative and the fear. Your life and business will be better off for it. I am still a work in progress, but what I have found over the last year is an enjoyment for business and being an entrepreneur that I never had when fear won out every mental battle. I'm willing to take a chance on the positive because it has to be better than the fear that lead me to the status quot.
My change has surely been for the better.
Not surprisingly the local construction numbers in Glens Falls and Queensbury were down in 2011. The Post Star reported today that construction in both areas declined by roughly half the level of 2010.
From The Post Star:
The city issued building permits for $13.81 million of construction in 2011, compared with $25.26 million in 2010, according city Code Enforcement Office annual reports.
Queensbury experienced a similar decline in construction activity, dropping to $28.6 million in 2011 from $41.2 million in 2010, according to the town Community Development Office annual report.
We are seeing the same thing in our business with the majority of our work coming from people remodeling a room or basement, not building new homes. There is much less demand for full duct systems and more for furnace replacements or repairs. There has been minor demand for some movement of duct work for better air flow, upstairs heat or new additions. However, this has not been something to be counted on like it may have been in the past. The jobs are scare and competitive.
Because we focus on sheet metal fabrication along with heating and cooling installation, we have a good idea of what's going on locally. Granted, we are very small in comparison to other companies. However, we have been in the area for over 20 years and know many companies that have been seeing the same things. Much of the trickle down fabrication for these companies comes our way and last year was much slower.
If the 2011 trends continue through 2012, business in the local residential HVAC market will continue to feel the pain of the last few years. I don't see many of our customers on as regular a basis like before the financial crisis. Many have found jobs in other fields or signed on with larger companies in the area. This can hurt us a bit because a lot of our business comes from the micro business service and installation professionals.
We can only hope for a warm summer and good air conditioning sales because the mild winter has not helped the beginning of this year. A summer with last years cool temperatures and we could see some lower revenues through the middle of the year as well. Last year we noticed a lot of customers asking about widow units rather than a new central air system.
If that trend continues, it would not be good for business throughout 2012.
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I was sad to read about the passing of Gary Carter on the twitter feed last night. My family and I are life long New York Mets fans and the teams with Gary Carter behind the plate were what I grew up with. I never missed a game. Those Mets teams made me love the game of baseball.
I remember my cousin and I would play in the backyard, him as Gary Carter and me as Dwight 'Doc' Gooden. He was infatuated with Carter and I with Gooden. My cousin went so far as to model his batting stance and swing after 'The Kid' and used it all the way through high school. Every time we played against each other it was like watching a childlike Carter impersonator. I loved it.
We lived and died with those Mets teams and I loved watching Gary Carter play the sport. I was always the rough, hustle everything out type of player and I learned it from watching Gary Carter play day in and day out. He always looked like he was having fun playing a game that most little boys grow up wishing to play.
I never knew him as a person, but when you grow up watching and loving certain people and professionals, it's tough not to feel like they are a part of your life. Everything I've ever heard or read about the man has lead me to believe he was a good person. I'm glad that a gentleman like Gary 'The Kid' Carter existed and he will obviously be missed in the baseball world.
We don't do much commercial work at our shop due to lack of man power and equipment. The shop is geared toward a lower volume, residential market with the ability to fabricate for bigger jobs if the lead time is extended. This week we have been fabricating some larger transitions and duct for a smaller commercial job that had a week or so of lead time. Perfect for my father and I. Both transitions needed to be insulated and fabricated with 24 gauge sheet metal.
These types of orders pay well, but aren't a regular thing around the shop because it takes me the majority of the day to fabricate and insulate this size order. Years ago we thought about financing a plasma table, but then the economy went into the toilet. Since then, like everyone, we've been doing our best to solidify consistent work.
My father and I learned a long time ago to know what you can handle at any one time. We used to take everything that came along and were extended beyond our means hence creating more negative word of mouth than anything else. When we figured out what we could accommodate, our days became much more productive and customers were happier.
Below is a photo of the transitions I worked on today. There is still some straight duct and flexible connectors to fabricate.
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