Just-ice in time for the July 4th
July is jumping at manufactured home communities and sales centers in many parts of the country. Some factories are reporting production orders a few weeks out. Lenders, insurances companies, suppliers, installers, transporters, support and service pros are glad to see the 9 month upturn in new orders. We all await the latest numbers to see if it will officially be 10 months of increases in a row.
In DC, five of the Supremes have in their wisdom affirmed President Obama's health care law. This came as a shock to many, considering the video interviews – including this with the president and ABC's George Stephanopoulos – where the president repeatedly 'absolutely rejects' the notion that the ACA's (ObamaCare) individual mandate was a tax.
In spite of almost three years of statements to the contrary, we are now told – surprise! – the mandate is a tax, by Chief Justice Roberts and the four liberal members of the high court. The majority opinion stresses this doesn't mean the ACA is good policy, but they do believe that as a tax, it can stand.
But the individual mandate and ObamaCare remain unpopular with most Americans, although the support has crept up. We will see how this plays out at the polls on November 6. In response on Wall Street, stocks for insurance and health care dropped, but hospital stocks rose.
As our Daily Business News brief reported, all of this especially hits small to mid sized businesses, which are the best descriptor for most of our industry. As one analyst put it, say goodbye to new private sector jobs between now and November.
As Independence Day on July 4th approaches, we have been told that the federal government can force us to spend our money as it sees fit. The power to tax (and regulate) is – as Justice Marshall said – the power to destroy.
After this quick round up, let's jump into our July Featured Articles (FA).
Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 3, No. 10, 2012
Alphabetically by Category
COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)
• Raise your right paw…
by Nadeen Green, JD
…do you solemnly swear that you have been a good dog, and that you have not attacked or bitten any other living creature?
Wouldn’t it be loverly if before a dog (pet or service animal) moved into your manufactured housing community that you could ask it about its previous history. Of course this is not a real plan, because dogs might not answer truthfully, even if under oath (maybe because they have been told to “lie” down so much).
• Resolving a Dichotomy
by Eddie Hicks
It is my considered opinion that for the manufactured home land lease community industry to make serious gains, we are going to have to resolve a dichotomy. Who are we going to market and appeal to with our high value manufactured homes?
With the notable exception of seniors, most of our industries traditional home sales have been to buyer/residents using chattel mortgage financing with minimal down payments and fair to poor credit. That hasn't worked well in recent years largely because of the inherent high rate of loan defaults. And with past abuses, we have largely been abandoned by many investor sources. With the exception of the FHA Title I program, there is not much of a secondary market for our lender's notes. Unless we improve the financial and credit status of our home buyers, were are going to be stuck in this pattern, forever.
• What Components are Used in Budget Preparation?
by Chrissy Jackson
Components are not people. Components are items that the people involved in creating the budget use to better enable them to forecast the financial future of the community. The more components that are available and the more that you use, the more accurate and complete your fiscal forecasting will be.
How can you see into the future? One of the best ways is to look at the past! That’s right. The historical financial performance of a community is the first component that should be reviewed when creating a new budget for the future. Look at the various categories. Be sure you understand what charges, costs, and other expenses were put into each expense category. Think in terms of the big picture.
• OPM Addiction! Caution, Danger ! (part I)
by John Merchant, JD
OPM is every bit as addictive and dangerous as O P IU M and it's caused grief to many victims, both "users" and their money sources. OK, just a minute here! What's OPM?
As the more worldly and experienced realty investor knows, it means Other Peoples' Money (OPM) and I'd suppose most or all of us who weren't born with a built-in golden spoon have looked at or taken a bite or two of that apple at some stage of our housing and Real Estate Investment (REI) career.
To prove my point, anybody in the room you are in who has NEVER used money or credit belonging to somebody else (with their ostensible consent of course) please raise your hands.
• What's Up with Home Ownership?
by Joanne Stevens, CCIM
It’s an up and down housing market and will become more so. Let's take a quick look to see what's up and what's down, and what it may mean for manufactured housing.
First, what’s up?
GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS
• A Severe Mercy
by Michael Barnabas
Punishment is one goal of the criminal justice system. Another goal is rehabilitation and reform – or at least – it should be ideally. Similarly, when an industry experiences a punishing downturn, part of the lesson should lead to self examination and reform.
In a sense, the market and economics can provide us with could be called a Severe Mercy. Let's see how that severe mercy can play out for the manufactured housing industry.
• Mystery Solved: Workers Compensation Insurance For Manufactured Home Community Owners and Retailers
by Kurt Kelly, JD
Workers compensation insurance is a mystery to many. People with employees ask me from time to time whether they need workers compensation insurance. My reply is meant to catch their attention, “Not if you can afford to pay an employee’s medical expenses and lost wages… for life.” When an employee is injured…
…on the job, workers compensation insurance pays their wages and medical expenses for as long as they are injured. Also, those that carry workers compensation insurance cannot be sued in civil court for on the job injuries. When your business carries workers compensation insurance, its benefits are the employees’ only option.
• Will Facebook Collapse? Social Networking and Manufactured Housing
by L. A. 'Tony' Kovach
Articles like Getting Zuckered! along with other media reports has raised the question, will Facebook collapse? Clearly not tomorrow, but over time? We have seen trends like MySpace rise and fall. We saw America Online in the 90s rise to dominance, only to get past by later. So while it is not my aim to predict what will happen to Facebook, what I will use this as is a growing trend towards very focused social networking groups online, and what that might mean for manufactured housing professionals.
More topically or group focused social networking groups are indeed a trend online. Let's look at how that trend may play out in manufactured housing. We will start with a peek at LinkedIn, and move on from there.
• What is and is not leadership
by Tim Connor, CSP
According to James MacGregor Burns, who authored the Nobel prize-winning book Leadership, there are at least 130 current definitions of leadership; while Warren Bemis and Burt Nanus, in their book Leaders, claim there are at least 340. Here are a few:
We have conceived of leadership…as the tapping of existence and potential motive and power basis of followers by leaders, for the purpose of achieving an intended change…
Though leadership may be hard to define, the one characteristic common to all leaders is their ability to make things happen…
• MH Strategic Relationships
by Tim Connor, CSP
It’s a proven fact based on years of sales experience and research that developing and cultivating strategic relationships or informal partnerships is one of the fastest and least expensive ways to grow your business or organization.
Recent research has indicated that the average cost of a sales call today is close to $1000. This number includes the resources, time, training, etc. required for each salesperson to reach out to a prospect and attempt to close them. Obviously, this varies by industry, but it will prove pretty close with many products/services in the manufactured housing industry.
by L. A. 'Tony' Kovach
In every business, industry, relationship or aspect of life, loyalty is a factor: either by it's presence, or by it's absence. The topic for this column is loyalty, let's look at disloyalty another time. In many ways, loyalty is a good thing, but it should have its limits. As manufactured housing is starting a long overdue rise in new home sales, let's explore loyalty and it's limits.
First, the FreeDictionary defines loyalty as:
• Re-Branding Your Way to Success
by L. A. 'Tony' Kovach
Re-branding is a tried and true approach for companies and organizations to broaden their appeal, and thus their results. It can be done at a single location, regionally or company wide, depending of the unique dynamics of your company. It is not new in manufactured housing. Arguably, when we went from being "mobile homes" in the 1950s to the early 1970s to "manufactured housing" since June 15,1976, we have as an industry already gone through a major re-branding.
Clayton Homes is arguably using rebranding, when they rolled out their iHouse. They don't call it a single section manufactured home, or "single-wide" do they? They got a strong, positive media reaction to this effort as well.
•Positive Public Education on Manufactured Housing Made Easy
by L. A. 'Tony' Kovach
It should be self-evident that a better public image would result in more manufactured housing sales and thus more revenues to companies and associations.
It's obvious that the web is a powerful tool, one that we use daily. Do you know what the second most popular search engine in the world is? Most know that Google is #1. Some might guess, Yahoo, Bing or another search engine as being numbers 2, 3 and so on. But in fact the number two search engine is YouTube. Video is one of the fastest growing elements of content online. We will take a look at how we can leverage YouTube to improve manufactured housing's public image – and thus our Factory Built Home Industry's bottom line results.
PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION
• Harvey Mackay
by Greg McClanahan
Many of us love inspirational stories and those stories often make a point that lasts in our minds. Another example of great customer service and what it can do for your business growth is demonstrated in the following story about Harvey Mackay.
A Duck or an Eagle
Harvey Mackay tells a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point.
He was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey.
• ZigOn Even More about Doing Things Poorly
by Zig Ziglar
My first professional job was to sell heavy-duty waterless cookware. We did it on a direct sales approach, going from door to door with our presentations. It took me quite a while to make enough sales to survive. Then one day I went to a sales meeting and a man named P. C. Merrell was there. He was the visiting supervisor from Tennessee and he was talking about dinner parties, where instead of demonstrating for only one couple you would demonstrate for four or six couples, or even more.
Well, I was enthralled because the people taking that approach were selling a great deal more than I was. I determined I was going to do the same thing.
• The Road Ahead…New Leadership Required
By Mike Moore
We are headed for more trouble as many of you are witnessing and sharing with me daily. The majority of stories shared with me include faltering hopes, negative attitudes and a sense of doom from those on the front lines of business…salespeople. Frustration is mounting among many salespeople that their daily reality and their companies leadership approach aren't aligned.
Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford