Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Return of Networking in the Modular Housing Industry

I started writing this blog in 2008 just when the housing industry tanked taking many modular home factories and builders down with it.

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This was a dark time of our industry. Competition for the dwindling new home market brought about many changes including the almost total collapse of the Modular Building Systems Association(MBSA).

Builders were leaving the new home market and factory owners withdrew back inside their factories to plan how to go after the other factory’s builders and sales.

Things have sure changed over the past few years with the re-emergence of the Modular Home Builders Association (the former MBSA) and the NAHB’s Building Systems Council (BSC) once again becoming a strong voice. Both of them are expanding and bringing in new builders and factories as well as winning back some of the ones that left during the downturn.

When I started putting on the Builder Breakfasts there was very little networking left that survived the downturn. Their success allowed me to begin host bigger and bigger breakfasts which lead to all-day regional Boot Camps and Round Tables.

The International Builder’s Show in Orlando this year found the BSC with its own room where speaker after speaker talked about all types of systems building techniques and general information. That was quickly followed by the launch of the BSC’s successful monthly “Lunch N Learn” webinar series.

The MHBA launched the new Consumer Awareness Program (CAP) to promote modular housing to new home buyers and is doing great work in the area of regulations and codes both at the state and Federal level.

While both of them have been growing stronger I found it harder and harder to go it alone in my efforts to bring the latest news and ideas in this blog as well as planning bigger and bigger events for the modular industry.

That’s when it became apparent that teaming up with the MHBA to plan and promote my regional events was the best way to serve the modular industry and if the Modular Summit on May 17th in Springfield, MA is any indication, it was the best move I could have made.

Tom Hardiman, the Executive Director of the MHBA and I jointly hosted this event which previous articles proved was a roaring success.

But something else happened at that event which I haven’t seen in quite some time in our industry…...Networking!

Rebuilding a successful modular housing industry takes a lot of time and drive, so it was good to see a network of factory people, builders, vendors and even code and regulatory people draw energy from each other at the Summit. By networking with industry people who share a similar drive and ambition, we will move forward as a industry.

For those that attended the Summit, you saw and experienced first hand the resurgence of times past when we actually worked together and I have to say, it was great to witness.

Here are 5 reasons we need to keep our networking growing.


1. Shared Knowledge
Networking is great for sharing ideas and knowledge. Whether it’s asking for feedback or discussing a point of view, it will help expand our knowledge and allow us to see things from another perspective.

It is also likely that within a group there will be those who have already been where you are today. This provides you with an opportunity to learn and avoid some of the common pitfalls they experienced.

2. Opportunities
It’s natural that networking will result in opportunities. The thing you will not know is when or how they will materialise. Whether it’s a referral, offer partnership or request for your service or product, it is important to be ready to seize opportunities when they come along.

3. Connections
Remember you are not just gaining exposure to other people in our industry, you are building connections with their networks too. If someone they know has a need that matches your business, if you have made an impression, you will likely get a referral.

And remember it’s not just a one-way street. If someone in your network matches a business you encounter at an event, don’t hesitate to share their details. It will only strengthen your relationship.

4. Increased confidence
By regularly networking, and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know, it will help increase your confidence. This is an important attribute as a business owner, because your business growth is dependent on talking to people and making connections.

5. Raising your profile
Being visible and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking. By regularly attending modular industry events, people will begin to recognise you. This can help you to build your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person by offering useful information or tips to people who need it.

As networking makes a comeback in our industry it will begin to make modular housing stronger and better.

On a personal note: I want to thank Tom Hardiman and the MHBA Board of Directors for agreeing to team up with me for this Summit and future events and if this was any indication, the future looks bright indeed.


Carl Nolan said...

Wish I could have been there to join in the networking. When is the next one?


I'd like to join