The economy is still struggling to recover, but are we looking at the wrong measure? The report this morning is that small businesses are uncertain about the economic recovery because consumers are not spending like they used to spend. If I remember correctly, our economic collapse was blamed on consumers spending and borrowing at unsustainable levels – so thank you for not spending with reckless abandon. So basing an economic forecast on a measure taken from the very issue that caused the economic collapse seems less than accurate.
I know that as a small business we have looked closely at our budget and cut out things that were not offering measurable payback. As a family, we have made sacrifices to make ends meet. As a small business owner in the construction industry, I can tell you we are not as busy as we were 4 years ago. We have business, our clients want high value, and we are appreciative of every job we get to work on in this economy. I certainly want things to be better than they are now, but I don’t want us to get back to the unsustainable growth we experienced several years ago. Let’s focus on buying local, sustainable, quality products and services. Let’s look for better ways to solve the issues we face and stop making decisions based solely on political affiliations or worse “because that is the way we always do it.” As a small business owner I am very optimistic about our economic future. I realize that is not as good a story for the news media, but it is the truth.
In the construction industry specifically, lets stop allowing inefficient building to be built and sold. Demand a higher quality product that allows for lower monthly utility bills. It does not cost more to do it “right” it just causes you to think about it differently. There is no need to continue to build those vented attics and crawl spaces in our climate or to install duct work that leaks 30% of the air out before it reaches the room it is intended to heat or cool. There is no reason to allow your walls to “breathe” causing the household to experience bad indoor air quality and higher utility bills. As a builder recently told me after attending a building science seminar “if I had only taken that class before we started construction I would not have fought you so much on what you were telling me”. Building a higher quality product is not about spending more money, it is about spending money in the right places, asking different questions, and demanding higher quality. It is time for a new economic future, it is time to stop answering why with “because that is the way we always do it.”
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