As we prepare for 2010, it’s time to quit fretting about the times we have had the last couple of years. I, for one, am tired of hearing so much negative media coverage and feel it’s time we took our destiny into our own hands. Let the negative talk and pessimism be for the others; let’s be positive and optimistic when we talk to our employees, our customers, and everyone we encounter. Let’s face it; they are tired of hearing all of the negativism. Why do I think we should be positive and optimistic? Because the fact that we are still here says an awful lot about the things we have done to remain in business.

We have already trimmed our staff, cut all of the fat out of our purchases, and done everything possible to streamline our operation. Remember, as we were cutting things, one of our concerns was that there didn’t seem to be a real direct correlation between changes in our sales and changes in our fixed overhead.

That is, just because our sales were dropping drastically, without significant and difficult changes on the part of our management team, our overhead remained pretty much the same.

That is always the problem when sales begin to drop. We have to react quickly enough, and consciously make those difficult decisions to reduce overhead in order to remain in business. But now that relation between sales and overhead is going to work to our benefit. Yes, we can now increase our sales by a fairly significant percentage without having to increase the overhead.

That’s why I am optimistic about the future. For those of us who worked diligently to regain control of our businesses, and to get our “house in order”, we can now concentrate our efforts on obtaining those additional sales that will provide the profits that we so richly deserve. And to fuel my optimism is the fact that there are so many benefits out there that we have to sell to our potential customers.

At the top of the list are the government tax credits, which save our customers real money. That money comes from the government, and everyone is anxious to get a share of the dollars that the government is making available.

Whether you like the idea philosophically or not should not make a difference. The fact is the tax credits are a wonderful benefit to the buyers of heating and air conditioning systems and we are selling those systems. Secondly, with the manufacturers struggling, they have been offering extensive rebates of varying kinds to make a purchase, especially that of a high-efficiency system, much easier on the buyer.

It’s up to us to make the buyer aware of the tax credits, rebates, special low cost financing, extended warranties, and any other benefits we can put together. We probably have more tools available to us than at any other time in the past, and with the benefit of reduced overhead costs, we can make a purchase extremely attractive to a homeowner.

And there is another reason why I am optimistic about the year 2010. I know that for many reasons, a large number of people who might have otherwise changed out their equipment in 2009 chose not to do so. And the fact is that those units are all going to be one year older and even more in need of replacement. Then add those units to the number of units which need to be replaced each year due to the obsolescence that naturally occurs and you can see that we potentially have a market that is greater for us than any one we have seen in a number of years. You will note that I am not even including the fact that we, at least here in the Midwest, are due for a long, hot summer. If that comes, it will be icing on the cake.

We need to be prepared to take advantage of all of these things we have in our favor, be aggressive, and using a positive perspective make it one of our best years ever!

Publication date:01/18/2010