Pioneer International general manager, George Haydock, shares some tips on how to survive the current economic climate – its a mix of leadership, innovation and natural refrigerants.

The economy may be heading into another recession. That means tougher going for air-conditioning contractors — tighter funding, tight-fisted consumers, and fewer exit opportunities.

But business is just like the seasons – sometimes its about persevering through cold winter temperatures and at other times we are basking in the summer sun. The economy also experiences seasons which is why leadership is critical during a downturn.

Regardless of the economic climate, HVACR business owners need to accept that they may need to remake their organisations to cope with what could be 'the new normal'.

Far too often small HVACR business owners become too preoccupied tackling short-term priorities making it hard to see the big picture.

I've led my business during two recessions and I know that the choices I make during a downturn will affect performance during a recovery.

Remember, there will be a recovery and we need to be prepared for it.

To maintain a successful business during a recession its important to have complete faith in what you're offering consumers.

Have you thought about your differentiator, or what truly sets you apart from others in your field? Employing business strategies during a recession is essentially meaningless unless you’re certain that your product or service brings something unique and valuable to the table. This is because regardless of the economic climate the world, and the market, is constantly changing.

In the air-conditioning industry the biggest change today is the range of new flammable refrigerants that are required to produce energy efficient equipment.

People aren’t born natural leaders – they are created over time. There have been a couple of recent examples of leadership in this industry. Both examples recognised the need to update skills to meet the changing HVACR landscape.

The first was the introduction of Green Scheme Accreditation by the Australian Refrigeration Council. It ensures technicians are qualified to work with natural and low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants.

Another example of leadership is the R32 training course being run by the Superior Training Centre. It is being rolled out by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Air Conditioners Australia (MHIAA) who have taken the lead to ensure their dealers get the education they need to protect them physically and legally.

It isn't easy for small air conditioning contractors to survive, the present dealer network is tough which is why its so important to set yourself apart from competitors and to constantly improve your offerings.

Strive to add value to people’s lives by continually innovating when it comes to your brand. You don’t need to make huge, monumental changes, but you do need to consistently be evaluating what’s working and what’s not.

This is in addition to anticipating gaps in the market and creating items that bridge those gaps. 

The good news about an economic downturn is it forces the innovative leaders amongst us to think and come up with new systems and products, this is the time when the disrupters breakthrough the noise and change the market for the better.

When presented with business opportunities during a market correction, don’t try to convince yourself that there are a million reasons to wait until the economy rebounds. The market will always have its up and downs, but if you’re able to anticipate these changes and offer something that provides value to the lives of others, then you’re bound to succeed

Imagine how much money you would have made if you invested in the following companies that were started in a reccession - Microsoft, Disney, Apple or Netflix. Here is a big tip the future of the HVACR – this industry is going to be based around natural refrigerants, what are you going to do with that information?


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