EZG Manufacturing
Federated Insurance
Fraco USA, Inc.
Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
Husqvarna Construction Products N.A.
Hydro Mobile, Inc.
iQ Power Tools
Kennison Forest Products, Inc.
Mortar Net Solutions
Non-Stop Scaffolding
Southwest Scaffolding
Tradesmen's Software, Inc.
November 26, 2010 1:30 PM CST

Do It Anyway to Survive!

Contractor tip of the month


It’s impossible for a business to fail if the leader stays honest, works hard, and has all the right people around him, right? At one time, that’s what I believed. Although I still believe these traits are most important to being successful, I also have learned something else: Bad things happen to good people, and some things are, well, out of our control. Still, even in these tough times, when the bad things happen that are out of our control, we’ve just got to “Do It Anyway” to survive.

One of my favorite books is “Made In America” by Sam Walton. Chapter 5, entitled “Raising A Family,” starts out with a quote from Sam’s daughter, Alice. She states, “As kids, we all worked for the company one way or another. I got to work behind the candy counter or run the popcorn stand when I was 5 years old. The business was part of life, and it was always included in the dinner conversation. We heard a lot about the debt it took to open new stores, and I worried about it. I remember confiding to my girlfriend one time, crying, and saying, ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do. My daddy owes so much money, and he won’t quit opening stores.’”

I’ll bet that when Sam Walton went through tough times, he drove on, made adjustments and did it anyway.

A couple years ago when I was struggling with the feeling that I just wasn’t getting a return for the things I was doing, Mom gave me a Christmas card. It hangs on my office wall and states:

Mother Teresa’s Wisdom

  • People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; forgive them anyway.
  • If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives; be kind anyway.
  • If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.
  • If you are honest and frank, people will cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
  • What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.
  • The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.
  • Give the world the best you have, and it may not be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
  • You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God.
  • It was never between you and them anyway.
It’s easy for employees or those outside your company speculate on how they could have done things better than you. Just remember, those people are the ones sitting on the sidelines, having never done anything, while you were taking action. Without taking the chances you took, those same people would not have had the work you provided for them. Popular or not, you did it anyway.

What do you do next? Keep taking action and “do it anyway.” Obviously, you can’t do the things you were doing when the economy was good, but you can do something.

Actions you take now must make your company leaner and meaner. Many of these moves are probably things you should have been doing all along; it just took a tight economy to force you to make the adjustments. Small steps (changes) made today will lead to huge differences over time. These important steps can better prepare you to compete in this economy. And, when the economy does turn up again, you will be in a position to take advantage of the higher margins that lean operating will provide, all because you did it anyway.

About the Author

Damian Lang is a mason contractor in southeast Ohio and inventor of many labor saving masonry systems and products. Lang has served as the Marketing Committee Chairman for the Mason Contractors Association of America. He is also author of the book Rewarding and Challenging Employees for Profits in Masonry. To network with Damian on contractor tips or tips you have and would like published, contact him at or 740-749-3512.


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