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PAGE A4 – September 2010 – The GTA Construction Report column Editor’s Mark Buckshon President, Construction News and Report Group of Companies

Since starting my business in 1988, I’ve seen my share of ups and downs in the economy. The recession in the early-mid 1990s certainly seemed to live on and on (a couple of years into it, and people were start- ing to call it a “depression”.) The more recent downturn has been harder to decipher. Things crashed, badly a couple of years ago, then appear to have recovered – or maybe not. Now what? At one level, the National Capital Heavy Construction Association’s show this month will include a career fair as companies vie for qualified employees. At another, our publisher in North Carolina (a U.S. division of our company publishes local publications there) says he has never seen things so bad in his life – and he has been in business much longer than me.

We can try to use the crystal ball in predicting the economic future and end up with a collection of predictions which may or may not be true. We will only know in hindsight. But I am thankful I’ve observed the basics of business viability over the past couple of decades. We need to keep our ears to the ground and be ready, sometimes with dramatic speed, to adapt our business and shift course or be confident enough to brave the turbulence and hold our position. The right decision may be based on log- ical criteria but often is instinctive. We just know what we need to do. So how do you handle your marketing in these uncertain times? I’m not a big fan of anyone wasting money and you can easily spend a lot of cash on marketing initiatives which get you nowhere. On the other hand, passively relying on “word of mouth” or (worse) open public bid oppor- tunities can lead you down a painful path if the spontaneous stuff dries up. If you leave you business development to the whims of fate and the good- will of customers (and low bid opportunities), what do you do when the customers stop calling and competition for the “low bid” gets so intense that you will certainly lose money if you “win” the job? The answer is systematic thinking, while respecting your passions, in- terests and values. Systematically encouraging repeat and referral busi- ness from your existing clients is a good start, no (cash) cost joint ventures with allied businesses and organizations can help and strategic association involvement will often result in really good results. There are many other low or no cash cost approaches you can take but of course these methods require effort and energy, so you should pick your battles carefully and focus your energies where you find the greatest enjoyment. (I like writ- ing, so I blog, for example. The blog has brought in several tens of thou- sands of dollars in business, but this won’t work for you unless you like writing, like me.) You need a plan of action and methods of measuring your results, and then you need to go for it.

Before you spend a cent on marketing, I encourage you to purchase

my book: Construction Marketing Ideas: Practical strategies and re- sources to attract and retain clients for your architectural, engineering or construction business. It’s available from or my website at 0981081601)

(ISSN: 978-

The book is free on request if you’ve advertised in any of our publi- cations in the past year. But here is a paradox. Although the book is sell- ing well – and has received some really positive reviews – I expect only a few if any of our advertisers will email me at for their free copy.

The GTA Construction Report is published monthly by Mekomedia Enterprises Inc., Suite 202, 1 Cleopatra Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K2G 3M9. You can subscribe to GTA Construction Report for $37.50 per year plus GST. To change your address or cancel a subscription, please email sub- or fax your request to 888-370-8745. If you would like to request a new (paid) subscription, you can e-mail or fax us, or if you prefer, phone toll free 888-432-3555. We welcome your news about upcoming projects, company anniversaries and special events. Fax your news releases to 613-224-1076. Daily update data on upcoming projects, including contact names and phone numbers, is available from F.W. Dodge. For more information, phone 613-727-4900 ext 4902 or 493.

President: Mark Buckshon Publisher: Chase

•• GTA Construction Report

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• • viewpoint Publisher’s By Chase

With the end of summer arrives one of the busiest times of the year for me with travel, conferences and tight deadlines. This is the time of year where four months will fly by in a minute.

Up first in September is a trip to Barrie for four days to attend the Barrie Construction Association (BCA) Board of Directors Meet- ing, followed by a joint dinner meeting with the BCA and Canadian Home Builders Asso- ciation – Simcoe County with mayoral candi- dates. The last day of the trip should be the most fun with the Annual Membership Ap- preciation Day BBQ; I will be the guy cook- ing the food.

Into October I have a trip to Ottawa for our Annual Planning Session for the Construction News and Report Group of Companies and after several months I get to meet Jeff Melling, our newest Account Managers, and build some great rapport with the rest of the team that includes Angela Chow our Office Manager and Tim Lawlor one of the other Ac- count Managers. In the past year the focus of having reps across the province has changed and by luck our last two employees just hap- pened to be based out of Ottawa where the head office is. With the new centralized work- force the good news for me will be quarterly trips up to our Nation’s capital instead of twice a year. Towards the end October I will be attend- ing the Ontario Painting Contractors Associa- tion(OPCA) where Mark Buckshon the

Publisher of the Construction News and Re- port Group will be a presenter. The event takes place here in Niagara so the commute will be rather easy. I am sure I am missing a few other events but thank goodness for my Outlook Calendar and my reminders.

Check out our newest publication the Canadian Design and Construction Report, a national magazine reaching over 75,000 read- ers across Canada. You can see the online ver- sion of the publication at Out October issue will be out next month and I have a few sponsorship opportunities if you are looking to reach a national audience.

Chase is the Director of Marketing and Client Relations for the Construction News and Report Group as well as the Associate Publisher for the GTA Construction Report, Ontario Construction Report and the new publication the Canadian Design & Con- struction Report serving all of Canada. Chase also serves on the Board of Directors for the Barrie Construction Association and on sev- eral committees for the Niagara Construction Association. If you have any recommendations or suggestions on changes you would like to make for the papers please contact him toll free at 1-888-432-3555 ext 211 or email him or visit us online at

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