As many builders learned during the previous downturn, weathering a recession often requires embracing lean business processes. But finding ways to deliver value on essential services while eliminating waste is easier said than done.
NAHB members Jake Harris, CEO of BuildWallet, and Robert Carroll, owner of Carroll Construction, shared some lean-business strategies during a recent presentation as part of NAHB’s Young Professionals Week. The webinar covered a wide range of strategies businesses could proactively implement during uncertain financial times.
"Recessions are pivotal times to focus on business fundamentals, particularly during these periods of high inflation and rising interest rates," Carroll said. "Businesses that are prepared will have the best chance of succeeding and maximizing opportunities to grow."
One of the methods discussed during the presentation focused on member-to-member collaboration. When fellow members of an HBA seek out opportunities to do business with one another, they are helping ensure their clients receive high-quality service, their companies maintain a steady amount of work and the overall local industry remains strong.
Transparency with the client was another topic highlighted. Especially during economic downturns, open communication about finances is vital for maintaining a trusting relationship between the builder and the customer. Harris shared that those who have confidence in their work, have exceptional financial discipline and regularly share budget status updates with the customer will best weather a recession: “Transparency breeds trust.”
"Clients respect your business when you are open and honest about your spreadsheets and financials,” Harris said. “The companies who believe and trust in their processes and are confident in the value of their services are the ones who will survive a recession."
Both Harris and Carroll recalled initial feelings of doubt and apprehension at the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008. But eventually, each learned to treat recessions as a chance to explore new, unchartered business opportunities.
"I could have looked at the recession as something that scares me away from the industry,” Carroll said. “Instead, as everyone was leaving, it left an opening for me to expand the family business. We’ve only improved and grown since I joined in 2009.”
Both presenters recognized NAHB for its extensive network of builders who implemented solutions for their businesses and successfully emerged from the 2008 recession.
"What I love about the NAHB Federation is the collective knowledge that is shared among the membership," Harris said. "This is a community full of proven, talented professionals who can offer real-world solutions. The members who take advantage of that can drive real value for their businesses."
Joining an NAHB Young Professionals group at a local HBA is a great way for members under the age of 45 to network with other emerging leaders and to become trailblazers for their organizations and the industry. Learn more by visiting nahb.org. You can also check out the NAHB Young Professionals Facebook page.