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Little Guys to the Rescue

Posted on   May 26, 2015 10:00 am by  Shaun Mannix  No Comments

As have all of you, I’ve been following the economy. Being in the commercial construction industry, our business is closely tied to the actual state of the economy as well as the perceived state of the economy. Actual state is where the need for our great walls and services comes from. Perceived state is where the decision to build or upgrade a building comes from.

Even when the actual economy is good and companies have money and the need for new and improved buildings, if they feel the economy is not so good they put off construction. It becomes a vicious cycle. If too many believe the economy isn’t very good and so put off purchases, the economy declines and reinforces their feeling and we all suffer.

As I’ve followed the ups and downs of the economic recovery over the last few years I’ve noticed how the media and pundits have played it. They seem to get great delight in going on and on about the slow recovery.  The unending debating over why it’s so slow seeps into everyone’s thinking and, in fact, slows everyone down.

I don’t understand this. The economy has been growing and continues to recover. One way I know this is that our business has grown significantly. We should be celebrating this rather than complaining it’s not fast enough.

Nice, steady growth is a good thing. Companies have a better chance to manage their resources rationally without crazy swings and random changes.

I know everyone is not participating in the growth. Tectonic changes in the global economy have wreaked havoc on the group I grew up with, those at the nexus of the working class and the middle-class. The assumptions we made about our futures have been turned up side down.

In addition to these changes, even at the best of economic times some companies do poorly and fail.  But most companies that are well run with good products and services that people want are doing okay or even better.

My evidence? The backbone of the economy, the small businesses that dot the countryside, are optimistic and planning to hire. Their mood is upbeat.  Upbeat in spite of the naysayer pundits.

This is good news for the economy, for those looking for work, and while those of us running businesses might complain about this, it’s good news for those looking for a wage increase.  But then, even a wage increase is good news for we small businesses it you think about it. More money in our employees’ pockets means more money for them to spend and so we need to make more products for them to buy.

The vicious cycle rebuffed and inverted into a virtuous cycle: nice stable growth that isn’t flashy but is steady and continuous fed by optimistic small business owners. Forget the naysayers and pundits spreading negativism. Let’s grow them out of existence.


Full Disclosure

Posted on   May 12, 2015 10:00 am by  Shaun Mannix  No Comments

I have a confession to make. Writing this blog was not my idea, nor my desire. Our marketing team kept after me until I agreed. They went on about how with the fantastic new website we were launching it was the perfect time for our customers and prospects to get to know what Transwall leadership might be thinking about. In the dark art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) things like regularly-posted blogs contribute to growing organic web search results.

Well, an interesting thing happened on the journey to this, the 14th posting.  I found that I actually like writing this every week or so. It’s forced me to make sure I spend some time each week thinking about how we’re doing, what we’re working on, how we can improve, and what I’ve been thinking about that would be useful to you, our loyal fans, prospects, and random interested people.

Sure, in my role as president, I always am thinking about those things. But thinking about them with a regular blog in mind changes the thinking. It gets me more focused, brings more clarity, causes me to pay attention to things around me more carefully, and seems to get the creative juices flowing in a more powerful and ongoing way.

To my amazement…and our marketing team’s foresight…some people are reading this, and sharing some nice comments. So thanks for reading and especially for the comments. Pass along a link to anyone you know who might enjoy a bit of my musing on business life on a regular basis.

A touch more ‘Full Disclosure’: writing the blog also gives me a chance to brag a bit about some of our recent exciting accomplishments:
– Topping off the first two phases of Twitter’s new HQ in NYC
– The award of Politico’s offices in Washington
– Celebrating the completion of our 80th branch office successfully installed for TD Ameritrade.

These come on the heels of completing the manufacture and on time installation of two record-setting projects for agencies of the Federal Government: over 6 miles of moveable walls in 2014.

Writing it gives me a chance to share things we’ve doing that have improved our operations and could be useful to other companies. Our partnership with the local VA Hospital where we bring recovering vets on board and help them return to the civilian workforce comes to mind.

Writing it gives me a chance to give all the credit to our employees who are an amazingly knowledgeable and dedicated bunch. They are driven to turn out the highest quality work to meet our client’s exacting standards. It’s clear that if you get the right people into the right seats, give them clear objectives and metrics, allow them freedom to act, and hold them accountable for what they do while rewarding them properly, they push themselves to be their best.  Managing such an organization is so much easier.

Most fun of all, writing it has given me a chance to reach out and share my thoughts with all of you. Best of all, you’ve reached back. One thing I’ve known for a long time is there are a lot of smart people out there with ideas I’d like to know about. This blog gives me an ongoing way to keep a dialogue going.

So I’m ending with a request.  Be an active partner in this blog. Keep on reading and trying out things I mention are working for us, and write back. Post a comment and share an idea about something working well for you. The more we share ideas the better it will be for all of us and our companies. I look forward to hearing from you.