My wife and I went to a concert last night by Joe Cocker. He is two years older than I am and, except for a slight bulge in the middle and an apparent need for frequent hydration, he appeared to be as fit as he was in 1969 at Woodstock. His voice sounded as good as ever and the performance was truly amazing. If the concert comes to your area I would highly recommend it.
I am not certain if it is nostalgia or merely the comfort of familiar songs to which I can hum or sing along but I enjoy “oldies”. We make it a point to attend as many concerts as possible by the veteran performers and my Sirius radio stations are pre-tuned to channels 5 (50s), 6 (60s), 71 (Sinatra), 72 (Broadway) and 74 (Opera).
While “oldies” may be “goodies” when it comes to music, movies and even comfort food, the same is not true for any aspect of the homebuilding industry. We need to be up to date and, even better, leading the way with intelligent innovation if we are to achieve success. The housing market is dynamic – at least one aspect is changing every day and inertia (failure to continually adapt and change as required) is the leading cause of failure.
– New home designs. We must continually review our home offerings and introduce refined home plans and features, regularly updated to satisfy consumer demand and differentiate ourselves from all of the competition, both new and used. Now is the time to bring to market the “2013 series” of homes.
– New community designs. Subdivisions cannot compete with contemporary land use plans that create a true sense of place and provide the essential privacy, livability and incremental value above and beyond the homes that are located therein.
– New sales management programs. Competition will continue to be strong and success requires the best possible sales teams comprised of talented individuals. Those teams can only be created and maintained with professional sales management complete with ongoing training, coaching and mentorship.
– New capitalization and financing programs. Opportunities abound today for homebuilders who have the means to take advantage. If the banks are unwilling to fund then search out alternate equity sources including private capital. Negotiate takedowns and partnerships with land sellers. Money is available but it may well require hard work to find it.
– New marketing programs. 90%+ of all prospective purchasers now begin their home search on the internet. A great web site is essential as a starting point but that must be augmented and supported with continual SEO, opportunistic paid placement (purchased banners and links) and extensive pro-active social media programs.
– New operating systems, programs and controls. Homebuilding is a business and success requires utilizing all of the tools that are available. Monitor productivity and variances from budget. Create true partnerships with suppliers, subcontractors and trade partners to optimize cost. Minimize G&A.
– New opportunities. Look beyond your historical comfort zone to identify new locations, new products and new services for which there is indicated demand.
I was at the NAHB Fall Board meeting in Austin earlier this month and had the opportunity to speak at the 21st Century Building Expo in Charlotte this past week and the mood of the attendees at both functions was universally upbeat. The housing industry is unquestionably in a recovery mode and I believe that homebuilding will offer substantial opportunities for profit and growth over the next several years. That success is not available to builders who stick with their own “oldies” as they are not “goodies”; it will only come to those who invest the necessary time and effort to identify those opportunities and then implement an appropriate and intelligent strategic plan of action. But that’s just my opinion!
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And if you are planning to attend IBS (the International Builders Show) in Las Vegas, please consider adding an event on Tuesday night, January 22nd and attend The Nationals – the National Sales and Marketing awards that will recognize the best and brightest in the housing industry.