Volume 12, Issue 8 - October 2011

AMD Headlines

Success Defined
It’s How High You Bounce When You Hit Bottom
by Rosalie Leone

We have been under a cloud of gloom filled with punishing economic news over the last few years. These may be lifted for a brief moment by a positive media report, only to be shadowed again with more skepticism on whether or not we have reached the bottom. How will we know when that happens?

For some in the millwork industry the bottom came too early with mergers, consolidations and the closing of companies with as many as 100 years in business. Others have felt the brunt within the last 12-18 months; none have gone unscathed.

You are in Control
For each business owner the challenges to stay afloat are similar. Many have decided to stop pursuing financial forecasters, economists and fortune tellers about the uncertainty of our economy. Company owners are taking a hands-on approach to managing their business infrastructure and finances. They refuse to play the waiting game or to predict when and if the economy will take two steps back or pick up the pace. As companies restructure and adjust to the “new normal,” as Mike Marks of Indian River Consulting Group would put it, business owners are gaining a sense of control in planning their own destiny. Company owners get it. They know the livelihood of their business depends on what they do rather than what the government can do for them.

"Company owners get it. They know the livelihood of their business depends on what they do rather than what the government can do for them."

The overall marketplace today reflects that consolidation and the millwork industry is no exception. The millwork survivors know they must be at the top of their game to remain among the handful of industry players. They know they are on their own in helping their business survive during this recession. The stakes are high with company owners investing private equity into their businesses knowing that there is little margin for error. Understanding their business finances is a major part of a company’s success, especially in these challenging times.

Our industry is that of a savvy business professional who takes control, assesses the risks, and then determines the best method to diminish these risks. The millwork survivor remains current on the market and its technology. Manufacturers, suppliers and distributors within the millwork industry know and depend on market brainpower when it comes to making significant decisions. They can successfully function at the bottom line and have become the masters at strategic thinking.

Utilizing Resources
The Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) has been an essential resource for its members yesterday, today and in the future. I could tell you about all the benefits of membership, but I think you would want to know what AMD
can do for you now. As one mem-ber put it, “We’re in a tough environment and only the best are still standing. We have found the best among AMD membership to be very supportive of each other by sharing ideas in these tough times. It has been a very positive experience for us that have led to key strategic decisions for our company.”

So what will the future look like one year or even three years from now? That is anyone’s guess. But those who gain control in planning their own destiny will most likely be successful. George S. Patton said it best, “success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” The millwork industry has a habit of bootstrapping their way to success and has demonstrated that method time and again.

Rosalie Leone serves as chief executive officer of the Association of Millwork Distributors.

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