Recession is an opportunity in Wolf’s clothing

business economic downturns

There are more opportunities to grow your wealth during periods of world crisis and economic downturns than any other period in history. Simon Boyes asks the question… are you ready to take advantage of it?

2020 has hit the scaffolding industry like a dropped ledger! The construction industry has not yet felt the same force of the pandemic as the retail, tourism, and hospitality market, but the flow-on effect is forecast to hit the construction sector in late 2020 and into 2021.

Following this, some of the worlds leading business strategists are predicting that the period between September 2021 and September 2031 will see a business growth period on a scale none of us has ever experienced before.

The questions is… are we ready for it?

What we do today and the way we think about our approach to solving our customer’s problems is going to shape the way we live and how (or if) we come out the other side. 

If we dont change our mindsets and our approach to what we do, we are going to be left behind. You can guarantee that our competition is already strategising on how to take full advantage of the upcoming opportunities.

During periods of financial discomfort, people are forced to think differently and find new ways to solve old problems.  Take the Global Financial Crisis in 2007 for example, college students who couldnt get jobs or were working from their garage for minimum wage, changed the world forever by inventing platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Netflix. 

The same is going to happen coming out of the COVID-19 crisis.  Between September 2021 and September 2031, we are going to experience more innovation than society has ever seen before.

We have already seen some of the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses have been forced to pivot and change the way they operate to survive.  We have proven that businesses can operate just as efficiently working remotely as they can working from the same office. We have proven that a video call is just as effective as a face to face meeting. We have shown that it no longer matters where you live or the country you reside because we can all collaborate through the internet, so what comes next?

Are scaffolding companies going to shift from owning expensive offices and storage facilities to working from home? Or move from owning all their own equipment to cross hiring from another supplier? Or moving away from having their own staff to using labour contractors?  The next 18 months is going to change the way we live, work, and play forever.

The key to surviving such a period is to take a deep dive into our businesses to really understand the key metrics and what are the critical drivers to our success.  What overheads do we have that are luxuries that we can no longer afford?

Having an open and honest conversation between your team will help everyone understand the current economic situation and keep everyones vision aligned.  It is important for the site team to understand what is going on in the office and vice versa. 

For as long as scaffolders have been connecting tubes together, the site team has a perception that the guys in the office sit around all day doing nothing and the guys in the office think the guys on site can work harder and faster. But in todays changing climate, it is more important than ever before to keep the entire team on the same page and working towards a common goal.

My advice to any senior leader or decision-maker of a scaffolding business is to be open with your team and make sure everyone understands what you are trying to achieve. Without buy-in and help, everyone is going to fall short of their goals.

We all need to stick together through this turbulent time and together as an industry we will make it out the other side and be stronger for having been through it.

This article was first published in the ScaffMag Magazine Issue 10