December 15, 2013

"The 97%"

 End of the year and your books look like this:
  1. 97% of your business was lost
  2. 97% of your accounts did not pay their bills
  3. 97% of your employees are not concerned
  4. 97% of 2014 looks like you'll be in the RED
Oh, you work for somebody and it's not a concern?
  1. 97% of your building industry accounts had the above happen to them
  2. You just lost 97% of your salary/commissions
  3. You have had your benefits slashed by 97%
  4. Your 401K just lost 97% of its value
Unless you have a very wealthy family and not a care in the world, you are going to be out of business and out of a job. Either way, things will not be good. I guess my question to you is very simple; could you afford any of the above to take place and be successful with your business?

The 3% I left you with can't accomplish anything. I know what you're thinking; "this guy Mike Kurpiel is nuts! 97% is a ridiculous failure rate and his scenarios are totally unrealistic." You're probably right, after all, no one person or company can have any success with 97% failure rate.  

If you are reading this, you are most likely earning a living in the building industry. The above, as harsh and improbable as it may seem, actually is needed to shine a very bright light on the 97%. This is the exact percentage of NAHB members who do not invest in political fundraising campaigns designed to protect your jobs and companies at the federal level. Only 3% of our membership actually makes the financial investment to support the political machine needed to keep housing efforts as protected as possible. Arguably the most regulated and legislated industry in the United States is the housing industry and in the effort to keep the playing field level for our members, in the political grand scheme of things, we need more members investing in their industry which in turn means they are investing in their livelihood. Yes, we are a special interest group. Why? Because we have a special interest in providing for our families and our future.

My ask of you is direct but needed; please consider political investments when your association is asking. Call your local executive officer, and ask how you can help. Money has been tight for the past several years, most all can agree on that. However, the HBAs made do with what they could to help with the protection of housing but it's wearing down those that keep stepping up to the plate, the 3%. This 3% has been financing the future of the 97%. Isn't it time to really have a heart to heart with yourself and say " self, it's time you took ownership in this industry and help financially." Your self may balk and even grab your hand as you reach for your wallet, but you'll do the right thing because you care. I'm not talking thousands of dollars. $25-$50 to our PACs (political action committees). That's less than 1-2 dollars a week out of your check book.

The more we can decrease the 97% the better we, as an industry, could be doing to protect our world.

If you'd like to know more about protecting your future, click on my name below and send me an email. I would be very happy to open the door for you and bring you in as an investor for our industry defense.

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

December 9, 2013

"Preparing Your HBA Board for 2014"

December in our association usually means end of year parties with installation of officers and board as the center piece of the evening (or luncheon). You're hoping that your board will be a good board, one that understands it's role in guiding the HBA, and not just names filling seats. 

Just in case, below is a suggested board of directors requirement list for your president to discuss with the new board at the start his or her first board meeting of 2014. 
Here's to a successful new year.

10 Requirements of Board Members
Board Members must:

1. Believe in the mission of the Association. Recruiting new board members who don't believe in, or understand, your mission will be a waste of time and potentially harmful to the Association.

2. Attend all board meetings. The Board must work as a team. Each member brings a dynamic set of skills and insights to the organizational process. If a Board Member doesn't attend meetings he is not only letting the Association down, he is alienating the other members.

3. Serve on committees. Active, vibrant committees make up the backbone of the Board of Directors. These committees need dedicated members who are willing to work for success.

4. Help create the future. New Board Members are critical to the future of the Association. Fresh new insights, wisdom and leadership will help propel the Association forward. Dynamic associations can ill afford, or tolerate, "name only" members.

5. Understand ethical standards and practices. Serving on the Board of Directors carries with it not only fiduciary responsibilities but ethical ones as well. New Board Members should be familiar with the ethical standards of fund raising as well as Board activities and requirements.

6. Help establish goals. An Association needs solid, achievable goals to survive and thrive. Formulating these goals is a critical duty of all Board Members.

7. Provide leadership to the staff. Board Members can play an important role as advisors, mentors and liaisons with other community supporters and leaders.

8. Help raise money. An Association needs to raise money from many resources. Board members can help identify prospects, open doors, and solicit potential donors.

9. Give to the fundraising events. It is imperative to the fund raising effort that the first, and most generous donations to any campaign, come from the resources of the Board Members.

10. Attend special events. Special events draw an Association together. When Board Members attend special events it shows unity of purpose, executive support and builds a stronger Association.

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December 1, 2013

"The 60 Day Countdown to IBS 2014 Begins"

As a 28-year member of NAHB, one of the events I always look forward to every year is the International Builders’ Show (IBS), since attending my first IBS in 1998. In all the years I’ve been going to the show, I always find something or someone that will benefit my business in the coming year. It could be a unique new product that was just launched or lessons learned from one of the over 100 education sessions that are offered during the show. But without a doubt, I always come back home thinking that the money spent to attend the show was a wise investment.
And, this year, since I am on the 2013 Convention & Meetings Committee, I am getting to see how the show is run, first-hand.  It’s amazing to see how much work goes into planning for just three days!  But literally, the 2014 show was already being worked on while we were at the 2013 show.

This year’s show is in Las Vegas again, February 4th-6th and one of the things I am most excited about this year in particular is the co-location of the 2014 IBS with the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s (NKBA) Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS).  I’ve always heard lots of great things about KBIS, but could never justify the budget to go to both shows.  I am just thrilled that IBS attendees will get the benefit of being able to visit the floors of both shows, plus the exhibits of a third show, the International Window Coverings Expo.  This new mega-event is being called Design & Construction Week and will have over 1,500 exhibitors and 600,000 square feet of exhibits.  Wear your most comfortable shoes!
NAHB and NKBA have the vision that Design & Construction Week will become the place where the entire building and design community comes together.  To that end, they’ve invited affiliated industry associations to become “supporting organizations.”  Those groups will help promote Design & Construction Week to their members and the leaders of these organizations will sit down with the CEOs of NAHB and NKBA for the Design & Construction Week Roundtable, where they’ll discuss shared industry issues. This is the first time such a group has been brought together.
In addition to the opportunities that are available to us through the co-location of the two shows, there are also a couple of other can’t-miss things I like to do each year.  One is The New American Home tour.  Every year, I think “Wow, this is the best New American Home yet!”  This year’s home looks to be amazing!  It’s a 6,700 square foot, multi-generational home that has cutting-edge energy efficiency and sustainability with a contemporary desert design.  The tour is free, but you need a ticket in order to get on the shuttle bus.  Pick up your tickets at The New American Home tour booth in the Central Hall Concourse beginning at 7:30 a.m. each day.  Plan to get to the booth early in the day; the tour does sell out each year.
One of the things I’ve learned as part of being on the Convention & Meetings Committee is that NAHB has really made an investment in the education portion of the show in the past two years.  Last year, the NAHB Education Committee whittled down the number of education sessions by half in order to improve the quality of the sessions.  And this year, in addition to the 80+ new speakers they’ve enlisted for the 2014 show, they’ve increased the number of advanced-level Master sessions, added both Spotlight sessions and a Tech Hub, to provide an interactive experience that encourages attendees to “plug in” and participate in the sessions and they’ve expanded the number of opportunities for show floor education.  They’ve also added a new area on the show floor, called the High Performance Building Zone, where you can see live product demonstrations  and a new education track specifically for Material Dealers, Suppliers and Specialty Trade attendees.  That’s important, because this is a key audience for the exhibitors and about a quarter of our attendees.
The final thing I love about IBS is the networking opportunities.  Anyone who reads this blog already knows that I love networking, both social media and face-to-face. IBS is hands-down the best networking opportunity of the year for NAHB members and having fun at the same time. 

Check out some of these special events going on during the show that NAHB sponsors.  That’s a fraction of the special events going on during the show, because many exhibitors also host special events.  Another networking avenue that NAHB opened up a couple of years ago was the Centrals; six building industry niche-specific areas where attendees with similar interests can share ideas and learn from one another.
I am energized just thinking about all the possibilities in just three days!  I hope you’ll consider joining me there and making a wise investment in YOUR future!

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP