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Mike M
03-19-2009, 11:46 PM
How is everyone?

I was just wondering if any people would like to reply here about changes in business plans, for example:

New installs, service accounts, retro-jobs/updating, trends in LED sales, diversifying, investing vs. scaling back, etc.

Anything different that's working or not working vs. last year, or changes in business plans?

Thanks,

Mike M

The Lighting Geek
03-20-2009, 12:03 AM
Northern California has been hit pretty hard with all of this. I am just taking it as it comes this year. I have been getting more calls lately and I am feeling pretty good about this spring. I am focusing on things that keep me in front of people, Home shows, TV spots, Yard Crashers, etc. This is going to take a while to shake out, so I am using a longer view of things.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
03-20-2009, 06:47 AM
Things here certainly have the feel that someone is putting the brakes on. The media is like a bad news blanket, and the "numbers" suggest that we will all be lining up for soup soon. However, I am really happy to say that I am just emerging from one of the best winter (in terms of business) ever. Usually we go pretty much into full shut down mode here, but not the case this winter. I will chalk that up entirely to the vertical integration and diversification of the business, something I started last summer and was fully completed by Jan 2009. The design-only biz has really pulled us through, with several open jobs on the books.

I am predicting that the contracting biz is going to take a pretty strong hit this year. But then again who knows? I have just as many jobs lined up for spring installations as I did last year, and these are almost all larger jobs. I had plans to really crank up the network marketing machine this spring, but at this point we are sold out up until July so I will wait to see.

I am being more cautious about suplerfluous spending of course, and I have put some major capital investments (spiderlift) on 'permanent hold status'. I plan on advertising less this coming year as it really has not been a great source of new clients. Back to basics there = find a niche and make it remarkable. I would love to get some media coverage the likes of which our friend Tommy enjoys, but I fear that my wardrobe and persona would require a serious makeover, probably not coming off as authentic. (Way to go Tommy! you should be teaching a seminar on how to get on the air)

I will be sticking with the LED lamps this coming season as I have no reason not to. I will (hope to) also be introducting a new G4 Bi-Pin LED lamp to market. For obvious reasons, I am looking for a new manufacturer(s) to fill the product voids left by NS, as that saga continues to be tenuous.

All in all my summation of things is this is going to be a "who knows?" kinda year. I sure am looking forward to seeing the other side of the economic slowdown, but after 2008, perhaps a bit of a slowdown, a reality check so to speak, is in order and could actually be healthy for this industry. I saw over 10 new 'competitors' enter my market last year alone... something tells me they won't all be around to see the 'other side'.

Have a great day.

Mike M
03-20-2009, 03:39 PM
Thanks, it's good to hear how people are doing.

I keep noticing how various municipalities are converting to LED's to save cities money (see Hadco's Color Kinetics page, etc.).

My landscaping biz is lined up for this season, and I picked up a few more accounts by referrals. I am running things remotely until May 10, with some lighting service calls and mostly landscaping services. I have at least one confirmed lighting installation waiting for me. I've held off advertising for a while now.

At this point, I am exploring the idea of having a partner for landscaping who has lighting installation experience, and having site plans sent to me for designing lighting.

I have a very attractive salary/benefits package here in AK, so I am exploring the idea of bringing my family to Alaska for a few years. They also have really good job opportunities for my wife.

I may try a postcard in the greater Anchorage market, with the plan of renting a small storage facility for my truck and materials, and doing installs each summer (I'm a few hundred miles north of there). I hesitate on the investment with times the way they are, but a postcard would be a good probe.

These are uncertain times, that's for flipping sure.

Mike M

Mark B
03-20-2009, 07:01 PM
Hey Mike is there lighting up there in AK?

Mike M
03-20-2009, 08:09 PM
Yeah. I guess. Where I live there isn't. I checked Anchorage/Wassilla, etc., looks like a viable market.

In the winter, it gets really really dark. In summer, they having running races at midnight.

I saw a line trimmer in our school storage the other day and it cracked me up. Kinda hard to imagine a lawn business up here, but in Anchorage it is a good market. I checked online advertising.

Pro-Scapes
03-20-2009, 10:16 PM
my numbers are on par with last year. I am still anticipating a growth overall for 09. I am going to keep my lips zipped on a new plan until it is implemented and in working.