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February 2007

From the Editor

Slow Time is Not Downtime

If you're like many construction company owners, February can often prove to be one of the slower months of the year. Harsh winter weather can delay even the most determined of construction project teams. However, these lulls in your typically hectic schedule are the perfect opportunity to inspect and restructure important aspects of your business, to gain education, or to make solid plans for the future.

If you haven't already investigated or followed through with the following, here are some ideas to turn a slower period of time into productive opportunities:

• Attend the national Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) Masonry Showcase, Feb. 21-24. The Showcase offers many opportunities for mason contractors to learn new strategies, check out the latest technologies and products, support their industry, and much more. This year, mason contractors will be introduced to the new National Mason Contractor Certification program, which is going to revolutionize the industry (see page 20). In addition, among dozens of helpful instruction available at the Showcase, nationally recognized architect and masonry advocate, Chris Huckabee, AIA, will provide insight and useful information about how to successfully sell masonry versus tilt-up in the school market. Finally, the Showcase provides an opportunity to network with your fellow mason contractors, as well as the members of the National Concrete Masonry Association. Time and time again, we've heard Masonry Showcase attendees stating that this convention sparked a fire in them, where they couldn't wait to get home to implement all of the new things they had learned.

• Sit down with your supervisors and create a new and improved safety program. Crunch the statistics, query your forepersons and crew members on where improvements need to be made, visit your job sites, and learn how other successful mason contractors have handled this very important issue; then, create a revitalized safety program and stick to it. A slower season provides the perfect opportunity to revamp safety protocol and implement it with your crews before the heavy construction season begins.

• February and March also happen to be tax season. While you're working with your accountant to complete the necessary tax preparation, it's the perfect opportunity to review your business cost analysis, business goals and strategies, profit and loss reports, and marketing plans, and make any necessary changes. With the last few volatile years under our belts, I don't need to tell you how quickly financial strategies have to change from year to year. Also, it's a great time to complete an in-depth debt analysis of your finances. For instance, review the terms of your current loans, see if it would be smarter to consolidate your loans, or decide if it's beneficial to receive an additional loan to bring your business to the next level for the coming year.

• Finally, a slower season is a great opportunity to get involved in masonry apprenticeship training. Whether it's attending a local career day, sponsoring a skills challenge, assisting a local instructor, or taking an apprentice under your wing, there are plenty of opportunities to make a difference in the industry's future.

So take this opportunity to jumpstart your 2007!






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