Monday, June 7, 2010

Your Business and the Future

Times are still tough out there economically, but we’re hearing from more and more of our members that things are getting a little better. Window and door work is picking up and some commercial contracts are finally starting to come to market. But while things may be improving in some ways, it only makes sense to keep looking for opportunities to work lean or consider new products and markets. In reading this month’s Inc. magazine (a must read for small businesses), a couple things caught my eye that local shops could think about.

First, in an article about the best industries for starting a business right now, environmental consulting is mentioned. These are businesses that help homeowners and businesses install green-friendly equipment and gear to improve energy efficiency. With the growth in Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) and other solar products along with things like RENOVATE from Edgetech IG and JE Berkowitz, there’s a lot of opportunity out there for glass companies. This issue is going to be a major theme at this year’s GlassBuild America, so if you haven’t made plans to get to Vegas in September, you need to do so soon.

Second, there’s a great tip in one column (unfortunately, not online yet) about managing cash flow. The author makes the point that the key to managing cash flow is managing your receivables. For a company with $3.5 million in annual sales, the difference between 51 days payable and 45 days payable is about the same as securing a $65,000 loan interest-free. We stress this same point with the NGA's Glass Management Institute students when we talk finance. You probably already know this, of course, but it can’t hurt to check to see if your receivables schedule is costing you money.

Another major area to look at is labor cost. In fact, this area is so important that we’ve made it the leading theme at this year’s Glazing Executives Forum. Jason Baumgarten, a consultant with FMI, will be with us to highlight ways that the best companies leverage their labor to improve efficiency and better manage their bottom line. This is session you don't want to miss.

What resources and/or tactics are you using to prepare for your future in the industry?

Matt Rumbaugh
Sr. Manager of Education, Training, and Certification

National Glass Association, Window & Door Dealers Alliance

No comments: