CVC Success Group coach, Jerry Isenhour

Join Jerry on this release on The Chimney & Fireplace Success Network as he talks about the first half of 2020 and what you need to do to prepare for what may come next.

Video Transcript


I want to welcome you to another episode of the chimney and fireplace success network. Our podcast is sponsored and brought to you every week by the CVC success group. And the reason we do this is to share with you business ideas, communication processes, and ways to take your business dreams and turn them into your business realities.

If you’d ever like to have a chat, a phone conversation and see perhaps if some of the systems processes, the training that we developed may be the answer for you. Simply reach out to us here at CVC Success Group. Just send us an email at Let’s get started, this is episode number 96, and I have entitled this episode What’s Next. And why did I title it this? Because as I sit here recording this in the middle of July of 2020, the following thoughts are in my mind as I review the year 2020.

Can you ever think of a year that we have seen such change in the world? Who would have thought in January of this year that we would have undergone the changes we have gone through in our world? Who would have guessed that wearing masks would become commonplace? Who would have guessed that the word, the phrase social distancing would now be a part of our everyday life?

Who would have thought that a virus would have inflicted pandemonium, it’s called a pandemic, but it’s actually pandemonium. Who would have ever thought that a simple virus such as this would create the panic-stricken world in which we now live? And the first six months of 2020 have definitely been an eye-opening experience for all of us. I know it has for me, more than likely it has for you. It’s caused us to make changes at our company, in a way that we service our clients using new methods of technology.

Both in our coaching, our consulting work, and our educational outreach efforts. It’s created tremendous change, we’ve had to change the way that we do business, much as many of you have. But here is the thing, as this podcast is dedicated to members of the chimney venting and hearth industries. And this is what we’re seeing right now overall in the industry, the state of business is very good.

It’s very good. When I talk to distributors, their orders are up. When I talk to many companies, their workloads are up. They’re having a very high demand, have we analyzed the reasons for this? Why is this? Because in one side of this is I want you to consider yourself very lucky because homer service contractors have seemed to profit tremendously during this current pandemonium that we’ve lived through.

Why is this? Consumers are engaging the services of contractors to do work around their home because they’re spending more time at home. Their social lives, they’re not what they used to be. They’re eating more meals at home; they’re doing much less entertaining in their home. They’re not meeting with their friends. When you look at the world, the music festivals have gone away along with many of the public events we have attended in the past.

Large gatherings are not a reality any longer, so in a way; this pandemic has been a blessing to many of you. You had no idea in March of this year what you would be seeing and experiencing today. Because in March, many were asking themselves; what am I going to do? And many had to furlough employees. But they quickly found out there was demand for the business, and as the local restrictions in their area dropped off, people went back to work. However, even as you view the success you may be experiencing today, you also must realize that many businesses have gone out of business or will go out of business from this.

And it makes one think where is this workforce at of all these people that are being laid off, being furloughed where their companies have gone bankrupt out of business. Think for a minute, how would your business be operating today if you were like the restaurants of this country, and you had to cut back your business by 50 percent? What if you were in the travel industry? And so many other industries are suffering the same fate. Their businesses are down; they’re not like yours.

So you know a person can sit here, rest on their laurels and say, boy, things are really going good. But that’s where we were back in January; many of us were resting on our laurels. Had no idea what was coming down the pike in just a few short months. But it did. Still, remember that time when I was at the HPBA show in New Orleans. I had no idea that a pandemic was going to be changing the world as we know it.

But we saw it starting then, we have seen that gatherings, conventions, training, so many things are being delayed and cancelled. We do not know when it’s going to change. In fact, as I do research into many businesses, it is predicted it will be 2022 before we ever see the return of outdoor music festivals, concerts, public gatherings which is two years from now. And we also must worry about what happens if this pandemic rises again, and what if it were to happen in the busiest part of the year?

You may be one of those companies that was lucky enough to get what is called PPP money for your business. And that hopefully helped you survive this. In fact, some companies have really profited because they have been able to pay down their debt, continue to earn income, while they were using this money for their payroll. Other companies got very low-interest disaster loans, and they put these to work within their business. And hopefully, if you have done this, you have made smart investments into your business that are going to have a return. But again, what’s next?

What’s next in what we now see is what some call the new normal, but what my friend Randy Pennington calls the new next. What are the changes that are ahead? Is technology part of the changes that you see where your business will change? What are the changes that you feel you may have to employ during the last half of 2020 in order to take your business where you want to go? You see often this is where people need to look at doing the following, and that is a SWOT meeting.

A SWOT meeting with your entire company or at least at a minimum with your leadership team. What exactly is a SWOT meeting? A SWOT meeting is where we examine several factors, and each of the letters of the SWOT the S-W-O and T each have a meaning. The S stands for the strengths, have you ever written down the strengths of your business? Do you know what your strengths are? Do you have a plan expand on these strengths and make them even greater?

The next letter is the W, and this is probably one of the most important ones to be looking at, and that is weaknesses. And sometimes we hate to admit this but in order to be a great leader, a great manager. What you’ve got to do is you’ve got to be aware of what your weaknesses are. And you’ve got to work with processes and procedures to turn those weaknesses into strengths. As you host the SWOT meaning, the first two letters the S and W those are interior items that are found in the business.

We also have two other letters; one is an O what does the O stand for, it stands for opportunities. And the next is the T and what is the T? The T stands for the threats to your business. And both the O and the T, the opportunities, and the threats these are each external issues. What are the opportunities for you in your business? Are there opportunities that you have turned a blind eye to, that you could expand on?

Are there additional products or services that you could bring to the table? What are the opportunities out there to expand your workforce? And how are you trying to do this? In other words, what is your recruitment process. Are you simply running an ad and hope people answer it? Is an ad written in a way that’s truly going to market to the right people to bring them to your table, to your team? And the last letter of SWOT is T and what does the T stand for, those are the threats.

And what are the threats to your business that are out there? You’re going to have some in your market area, but let’s name a few threats. What if this COVID re-strikes? What if the COVID virus comes on with a vengeance in October or November or December. The traditional highest earning months of the year for you. Are you prepared? Were you prepared for the last time?

Are you building your reserves? Or do you hope that the government will step up to the plate and offer you additional funding if we go there again? What are other threats to us? Well, 2020 is an election year. And if you study history, often an election year means there is going to be a lot of changes. There is going to be a lot of fears uttered out to the public. People will get fearful, and many times, this causes them to clamp down on their spending. You need to be aware of all these things.

What are the other threats to your market area? Do you have other people that could open up and take a percentage of your market? Do you have competitors that could be taking your customers in the future through innovative marketing plans, through what they’re doing of reaching out? The way they put together their plan to build their own businesses which could affect your business.

What about the energy cost? Is the cost of energy which is very low? Could that be a threat to your business? And what I mean by that is cheap energy many times means that people do not resort to alternative fuels. So again, you’ve got to examine what the threats are. To carefully plan to go into the what is next, what’s next as I have labeled this podcast, I am going to highly encourage you to do the SWOT.

Doing a SWOT is something that usually you are likely going to need expertise from outside to come in and conduct it. What’s the reason for that? Because to be honest with you, most business owners and managers have emotional ties to the present way they do business. Or they have emotions that are going to block their path. So the best way to do an effective SWOT is to have an outside facilitator come in to conduct the SWOT meeting. And you know in today’s world, SWOT meetings are now being done in a virtual means.

What does that mean? It means you can do this at a reduced cost. You can do it without the fears of bringing people together. Because if you look at it, we still have that fear, the social distancing, the mask requirements and everything else that’s involved in doing business in the present day. So again, what does the future hold? What is the new normal? What is the new next? As my friend and mentor, Randy Pennington calls it. As an effective leader, as an effective manager, sometimes it really feels like you need a crystal ball.

But there is no crystal ball, but what you can do is analyze what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and how can you do it better. So my advice to you is no matter what’s next, plan for it. Be prepared for it, be prepared to go into what’s next fully armed with all the tools that you need to move to that elusive dream. Don’t let world events disrupt your business dreams. You know this is the thing about it, everybody gets to work in the same environment.

It does not pick out certain people and it is not going to affect just you; it affects us all. So put your thinking cap on, put your highest leadership skills to work. Get together, spend the time, and decide what will your path be as we go into the next. I appreciate you joining me today; this is Jerry Isenhour with CVC success group. If we can help you, it is as simple as an email to us.

We’ll be glad to set up a phone call, see if one of our coaches, one of our trainers may be able to bring you the answers that you’re needing to turn those business dreams into your business realities. I appreciate you joining me, it has been an honor, it has been a pleasure, and it has been a privilege to speak to you like this. Have a great week, talk to you later.