Part 4 – By Ron Pestone
I do not deny that there might be some secrets out there when it comes to installing a specific trade, but what hasn’t been done thousands of times before? So maybe the secret is not a secret after all, or maybe it’s not such a big secret.
I am of the opinion that you get more than you give out of sharing, that in today’s world networking makes practical sense and in fact holds the key to success in many businesses including contracting. Think about the internet and where it has taken the world. Think about companies like Goggle, Facebook and LinkedIn whose basic philosophy is to build a better world by sharing through networking. Think about all they have given for so many years charging nothing. Think about how we all have benefited. When I was growing up and I would ask my dad about something I wanted to know he’d tell me to look it up in the encyclopedia [we had a full set of the Encyclopedia Britannica], today without even thinking about it I Google my question. Goggle mapped the world including the oceans. And so much is available at no cost, truly making a better world. All of these organizations have revenue streams built into their business models but their foundations are built on sharing through networking in trying to build a better world. You are reading this article on a site that is committed to making a better world for contractors through sharing and networking.
You as a contractor need to make the next step. I know it isn’t easy but trust me it will be one of the smartest moves you ever made in your life. You will have left the horse behind and stepped into the marvelous world of the automobile. And that is what opened up America. So the question becomes how do you start? Where do you begin?
I think the very first thing to do is join a trade association for your trade. Become involved, go to meetings, network and go to their convention if they have one. Breaking bread with your fellow contractors really helps. You will find you have a lot more in common than you might think. Join a contractors association, either a Subcontractors or a General Contractors association depending on what kind of contractor you are. Again become involved, go to the monthly meetings, network, get to know people on a first name basis. Volunteer for assignments and see if you can get on any committees. Go to the yearly dinner dance or pininic if they have one and bring your spouse. Have a good time, circulate and make friends.
Surprisingly in time other contractors will get to know you and when you meet, in addition to calling you by your first name talk about the business will come easy. Your company will get to have a face, you. In time you will be swapping stores and jokes and you will find out you have a lot in common and many of the guys are just good guys. Guys on the same road you are on. In the mixing you might find out the developer to stay away from because he never pays his bills or the authority you should try and get work from because it treats its contractors fairly. You will be able to figure who the good and bad guys are and eventually who you might consider doing a joint venture with.
Go to the trade shows. Find out what’s new and where the industry is going. Most likely you will meet some members of the organization you had previously joined and if so go out for coffee or have a drink with them. I know many of you will find this hard to believe but there are a lot of good guys out there and getting to know them and breaking bread with them can and will do wonders for your company.
Think about it like this, when the Cold War ended and The Iron Curtain was lifted I, like so many other people, was surprised to see that the Russians looked just like regular people. They weren’t green one eyed monsters who beat their children and wreaked havoc on mankind. They were just people, some good, and some bad, some who laughed, cried, worried and worked for their families just like the rest of us. Amazing People, just people, simple but true.
Don’t Forget: We Build America