Seth Holdren publishes the Construction Marketing Blog from his Nashville home.
Tomorrow morning, we head back to the airport, and home. Nashville -- and Tennessee in general -- had been in our mystery-land as Canadians. This week, we saw a vibrant, mature, sophisticated city, with construction cranes still on the skyline and some construction industry representatives telling me that the market hasn't really slowed down yet, significantly.
No one is expecting the boom times in the private sector to continue, but public works and community services/infrastructure work will keep contractors and sub-trades who know how to bid effectively and manage their relationships in business.
I'll bring home a copy of a Tennessean article describing some NIMBY (Not in my back yard) syndrome for the world's largest Habitat for Humanity Community -- a full 350-home subdivision, near another Habitat subdivision of similar size. Conversely, Habitat for Humanity in Ottawa struggles to find an odd lot here or there where it can build a few houses, at most, at a time.
Our travels and visits especially at our hotel near Vanderbilt University, and communities to the West, showed the other side of Nashville -- prosperity, class, dignity, and success, rooted in Southern Tradition.
So can we build a business here?
The issue, in the end, comes down to finding the right person for the work. As I noted yesterday, in a challenging economic environment, it is vitally important that we not lower our standards or 'adapt' our system's criteria; the risk of a mis-hire and market failure is greatly decreased if we can succeed in this regard. But finding really great sales reps (even with a fair starting salary and lots of independence) is not easy stuff; rightfully well-run businesses keep their top producing salespeople happy, and the less-than-able are looking for work.
I met Seth Holdren, publisher of the Construction Marketing Blog. He's a bright 31-year-old, with construction and writing experience; perfect for blogging. The problem he, and most other bloggers have, is making money at the business. Conventional on-line revenue streams such as advertising and affiliate marketing generate meagre cash flow; of course blogs like this have real value in supporting and enhancing an existing business (and in that regard, we are seeing measurable results).
We tentatively explored ways we can work together in the future; it is too early to confirm anything, but I sense that, with the right person at the job, Tennessee will indeed be a great market (so if you live in this area, or know someone who does, who is great at selling, let me know -- we'll evaluate the candidate and even pay for some trial employment initiatives.)
Tomorrow, we get up early, and head back to Ottawa's autumn.