As I write this article, I am self-isolating at home, wondering about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on our lifestyles. Obviously, the pandemic must be addressed for us to have lives that can have styles.
Businesses have been forced to close. Employees have been sent home. Some can work from home. Some are just out of work with no pay and others have been given furloughs with pay. Hysteria is causing the supermarkets to look like the Soviet Union circa 1975. That’s when simple items used for everyday lives were scarce at best.
Several PHC contractors have told me the pandemic is having an adverse effect on their businesses. The economic welfare of our country is in jeopardy due to a virus that has nothing to do with running a PHC contracting business, yet is affecting the potential of our futures. The path we take handling the situation will determine the future we have when the pandemic ceases to exist.
Each day the numbers change as more people are tested for the virus. The percentage of fatalities fluctuates as numerators and denominators change. The news media hypes the factors and, in doing so, increases the hysteria that causes people to hoard toilet paper.
The rhetoric of politicians spans the wide range between negativity and positivity. And we are left to decide what is real news and what is fake news as the virus traverses the globe. It goes from bad to worse, and worst to better, dependent upon the virus running its course — and the immunity human bodies build to fight it.
Doctors often tell us about the benefits of exercise to maintain good health, as well as prescribing drugs to combat that which ails our physical well being. But it’s up to us to exercise and take our medicine. When we don’t, the result is usually uncomfortable and could be fatal.
When it comes to the coronavirus, medical experts and governmental authorities are in constant contact fighting the virus on the front lines. The business closings imposed and suggested self-quarantining seem to be wise weapons to use in the fight. After all, contact with someone infected can’t be a good thing. Therefore, we would be prudent to do that, which will abate the spread of the virus.
One thing is for sure, even after the pandemic leaves, personal and business lives will be affected. Some people and some companies will cease to exist. And this should be of grave concern to us all.
As I sit here typing away, I pray for those lives affected by COVID-19. Patients, doctors, nurses, EMTs, firefighters and police are in the line of fire of this viral plague. They deserve our sincerest gratitude.
Poor practices, poor results
You might wonder why a business consultant is addressing this virus as a topic. Just like the coronavirus must be addressed because it affects our lives and lifestyles, there is another virus affecting our business lives and the results we get from our businesses. It’s the nonprofit price virus.
It has affected the lives of PHC contractors long before I entered this industry 50 years ago as a novice who became an apprentice, journeyman, master PHC contractor and contracting business consultant. It runs rampant throughout the PHC contracting business world.
The coronavir -0r some contracting firms, it could be permanent if they are not strong enough to withstand the storm.
When businesses are forced to close so people can distance themselves from each other, the domino effect is far-reaching and everyone’s livelihoods are placed in jeopardy. But do not be afraid. This, too, shall pass.
The nonprofit price virus is a much more subdued virus and it affects contracting companies over the lives of those businesses. It creates poor business results, undue stress and extreme frustration. But fear not. This, too, shall pass — if you identify it and address it by taking the medicine and implementing the protocols necessary to rid your business of this dreaded virus.
A nonprofit price virus infection starts when a person enters the PHC contracting business arena without the ability to understand the purpose of for-profit businesses. Its symptoms are not knowing how to calculate true operational business costs; quoting selling prices without the knowledge of true operational costs; not seeking to learn how to properly price services; charging a dollar less than the rates charged by PHC contractors who are infected with the virus; and spreading the disease by touting the correctness of flawed prices to other contractors whose businesses are then introduced to the virus.
Old, new tricks
I recently got off the phone with a contractor in his late 80s who sold his PHC contracting business two years ago and is now thinking of starting a new plumbing contracting business with the intention of selling it in two years. He is concerned about the cost he would incur investing in this new business. He asked me if he should do it.
He was very pleasant and we spoke for a while. I asked about his business protocols and concluded that the methods he was considering employing in his new venture were symptomatic of the nonprofitpricevirus.
Although I don’t believe in the adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” in this instance, it might hold true. The methods he used to arrive at his selling prices were convoluted and flawed at best.
He insisted his business practices were not the reason for his call. He just wanted me to tell him whether or not it was wise for a man in his late eighties to open a plumbing contracting business.
I told him it is not my place to decide whether or not he opens a new business. The answer to that question can only come from the man he sees in the mirror.
What I do know is that if he doesn’t change his outlook regarding his flawed business acumen, staying retired might be the more prudent choice. As the call came to an end, I sensed that he heard what I was saying but probably wouldn’t take the medicine.
Better business protocols
As much as we hate being cooped up in our homes, it’s the prescription we need to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and take hold of our future.
If you’re not sure if you are infected with the nonprofit price virus, self-examine your business by asking yourself:
If you answered “no” to any of those questions, your business could be infected with the nonprofit price virus. One “no” indicates infection. The number of times you answered “no” will indicate the severity of your infection. If so, to take hold of your future, you would be wise to take steps to exercise better business protocols, and, take the medicine necessary to rectify the situation. Don’t let the nonprofit price virus destroy your life and business.
Two other contractors who have been in the industry for decades also contacted me while I wrote this article. I had pleasant conversations with both of them and both realized they had the nonprofit price virus and decided to do something about it. It seems you can teach an old dog new tricks if the dog is willing to learn.
I wish you and your families a safe journey through this coronavirus pandemic. Stay healthy. Thank the people who are fighting on the front lines of the coronavirus. And, if you need help keeping your business healthy, give me a call.