More than 130 HVAC and plumbing/hydronics contractors decended upon the Hilton Fort Worth in mid-February to get their batteries recharged, their networking fired up, and to learn how to overcome adversity in today's crazy economy. The event was verynteractive, with speakers sharing experiences, group discussions on specific adversarial issues that they overcame, as well as a keynote by former Dallas Cowboy great Chad Hennings.

Attendees were exposed to a number of speakers who overcame catasrophe in their life and in their business including:

  • Joe Grohe, whose life as a contracting business owner changed forever after a tragic accident
  • Ed O'Connell who went from a scholarship college basketball player to a homeless person living on the streets of San Francisco to successful plumbing contracor
  • Steve Saunders who built a business, lost it, built it again, and nearly lost it again to become Contracting Business.com magazine's 2003 Residential Contractor of the Year and more.
  • Larry Taylor and Gene Burch shared how they built additional profit opportunities through green contracting. Taylor, whose company was Contracting Business.com's 2004 Residential Contractor of the Year, focused on performance contracting, whicle Burch lead a discussion with plumbing contractors on "Green Plumbing."
  • Todd Liles focused on how to live a life worth living and how to turn learning into earning. Overcoming the curves that learning can through you is his specialty.
  • John and Vicki LaPlant discussed how to deal with the greatest adversities contractors can face -- those that stem from family. Recognizing and dealing with family confict in a contracting business can be one of the ardest things for contractors to do. The LaPlants provided a serious of scenerios common ly fouynd in business and how to work through them successfully.
  • Jim Hinshaw and Lorri Allen tackled the issue of what to do when the media comes knocking on your door. How to be interviewed when something goes wrong or a sting is being set up -- something that can destroy your business or set you up as the expert.

Here are five  similarities among these people and their stories:

  1. Remember your key goals. Each one of them understood their endgame, created "bite-sized" steps toward achieving the goal, and beciame more motivated as they accomplished each "step."
  2. Seek assistance from others. Whether it's through trade associations, boards of advisors, or online using an entity like The Service Roundtable, staying connected with people in similar situations as you is very important. Not only for comiserating with people who've already gone through similar experiences, but learning from their lessons, through their guidance, and support.
  3. Stay positive. Business isn't personal. It's business. Don't take bad news, bad luck, or bad decisions on your own part or those with who you work or do business personally. If you do, you can definately develop a bad attitude and that is detrimental to your organization and can prevent you from overcoming adversity. Understand that there is always a solution. Stay positive. You can and will win.
  4. Retain your composure. Don’t panic. Remain calm and remember that each day brings new opportunities.
  5. Don't give up. Try, try, and try again. Don’t let obstacles stop you. If you run into a wall, find a way to climb it, go through it, or work around it.

The even was MC'd by Bob Mader, editorial director of Contractor magazine with his counterpart on Contracting Business.com, Mike Weil, moderating both a panel discussion on what to expect in 2013 as well as the Service Roundtable's Idea Storm.

If you aren't a member of The Service Roundtable and would like to hear what member companies have to say about its value, check out their testimonials page.

Stay tuned for more information on upcoming events.