Editor’s column

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    Mark Buckshon

    President, Construction News and Report Group of Companies

    It’s mid to late January and, most likely, your New Years’ resolutions are fading under the weight of old habits or competing priorities. If you’ve managed to maintain your discipline, congratulations. Change isn’t easy and although I believe the biggest and most important improvements should not rely on a calendar date, when you replace unhealthy with healthy attitudes and habits, you almost certainly will enjoy the rewards for many years in the future.

    With these thought in mind, I’d like you to take a few seconds to take stock of your business, goals, and experiences and think about some of your most satisfying accomplishments. Savour the moment. If you can recall what made the experience so special and important, and the lessons you learned from it, you may have the key to recommitting and implementing the ideas from that occurrence.

    (Here I’m thinking about epiphanies, those “blinding flash” insight experiences. If you’ve never lived through these events, then it is hard to explain their significance; if you have, they are undoubtedly seared in your memories. Epiphanies don’t occur in isolation; usually there is a long period of commitment, searching and effort, but it seems like the answer arrives in a flash – a momentary brilliant eureka.)

    I don’t have the right to impose my insights onto you – but hopefully your own strengths will guide you forward. I sense these relate to values, perceptions and relationships – and more of the right stuff will lead to even more happiness and success. Your best clients, colleagues, suppliers . . . Can you maintain and expand on these wonderful events and connections?

    However, we also realize the world isn’t perfect. I know of some victims of high profile projects which started off well, but unfortunately turned sour, especially for sub-trades and suppliers lower on the payment chain, and thus caught in the vortex of unpaid change orders, massive cost overruns, and severe cash flow difficulties. These contractors and suppliers didn’t do anything wrong; they played fair and square, but were caught in circumstances that pushed their businesses close to the edge, or over the cliff.

    Here, inspiration and vision (and wonderful, adventurous success dreams) came clashing head on with the painful fact that if you bet your business on one project’s success, and it fails, your business will fail. Yet if you don’t take risks and stretch yourself, you won’t grow.

    You may find some inspiration and grounded advice in our extensive feature about Trisura in Ontario Construction Report. You may not associate the surety/bonding business with much glamour, but when you think about it, the surety system provides some of the best protection and leverage for some of this business’s risks.

    This leads me to a final, and paradoxical and important, conclusion. Most marketing within the architectural, engineering and construction community doesn’t work very well, in part because most people in this industry don’t know much about effective marketing. You can certainly waste money and resources; but I think you can also really achieve success with some simple disciplines and strategies that don’t require much if any additional cash, though you may need to realign your time and habits somewhat.

    If you are ready to stretch into the new and better (yet tried, true and tested) marketing approaches, please feel free to visit my blog or connect with me directly. Sometime in the not too distant future, you may experience your own eureka moment.

    Mark Buckshon is president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies, and can be reached toll free at (888) 627-8717 ext. 224 or by email at buckshon@cnrgp.com. He publishes a daily blog at www.constructionmarketingideas.com.

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