So I’ll tell you that yesterday was not a good day for me. I received some personal news about one of my three daughters that wasn’t the best and for the rest of the day I was in a funk.
So what did I do to cheer myself up? I listened to the afternoon portion of the National Association of Home builders Construction Forecast Conference via webcast (Our assistant editor Penny Stacey took the morning shift).

We all know that news about the housing market, the economy, unemployment, you name it–the news is bad. But most people listen to a little here and a little there. Sit all day (or half a day) and listen to all the experts tell you how bad it is and you’re ready for some vice to cure your woes. For me it was brownies later that night.

For the NAHB, a few of the speakers joked about taking a drink.

“I hope we all survive this day,” said NAHB chief economist David Seiders. “By the way, you might want to start serving the cocktails soon rather than later.”

This comment was made at 9:40 a.m. By the time the last speaker gave his speech I’m sure a few of the attendees headed for the bar.

Where am I going with all this? No I’m not advocating alcohol. There are a few other choices. You can turn off the television and radio and throw away the newspapers and magazines, and tell your friends to not talk to you about the economy. Probably not the best choice.

Choice number two is to make smart choices and look for some good news to get you through these hard times.

For door and window manufacturers, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to read two recent blogs that highlight some manufacturers who are experiencing success in this depressed market. If you already read them, read them again.

As far as the smart choices go, it’s sometimes the completely obvious things that people forget. For instance, in yesterday’s conference, some of the speakers joked about the horrible decisions some consumers are making.

Ivy Zelman, chief executive officer for Zelman & Associates, pointed out that consumers are using their homes like an ATM machine, referring the fact that their borrowing all the equity from the home. The speakers made fairly obvious points like if you can’t afford a home, don’t buy one.

To relate this to the window industry, we’ve had some more news of layoffs and closures in the news this week for companies like Milgard in Tacoma and Nu-Air in Tampa. I do not envy the decisions the executives of these companies have to make (a fact I’ve written about before in previous blogs). But kudos to them for knowing they have to cut back in these times, if it means laying off employees or shutting a plant, they need to do this so their whole company doesn’t go down. I applaud them for making these tough decisions.

I hope I didn’t depress you, if I did-don’t go to the bar or consume a whole lot of brownies. Instead, take heed in these words from Seiders.

“I think we have learned something here and it’s very significant,” said Seiders. “I think this is so jarring that we’ll make some major changes. We’ll make mistakes, but I do think we’ll have a better system at the end of the day.”

So apply that to your company. What mistakes have you made? What changes will you put in place so when the market comes back your company will be a better one at the end of the day?

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