Monday, June 7, 2010

Weighing opportunities

I was struck last week by a member of the industry, with whom I chatted on a conference call. He remarked he'd just heard for the first time about an important piece of legislation that I thought "everyone" knew about. The bill offers potential rewards to those prepared to capitalize on it, and could be a short-term "game-changer" once it passes.

The experience got me to thinking about the word opportunity.

Merriam Webster's dictionary defines opportunity as a "Favorable set of circumstances. An opening. A chance to break new ground."

As this implies, opportunities are meaningless unless followed up with action. In addition, before one can seize the opportunity presented, one must first understand what they're looking at.

I believe our industry is about to encounter a few obvious, and some less-than-obvious, opportunities that are just now peeking over the horizon.

First, the move to use U-factor in lieu of R-factor when touting energy efficiencies to consumers is now being debated, and it appears to be gaining momentum. This could be a marketer's dream in terms of building demand for newly positioned energy efficient windows. Click here for more information.

Next, the push to increase the use of three panes vs. two in various zones for commercial glazing will further push the envelope of technology, which always drives additional breakthroughs and results in incremental growth. More here.

Another opportunity revolves around the rebates offered on Energy Home Star products (aka, Cash for Caulkers). This program is still being debated, but we believe it is likely to pass in some form this year. Sales of energy-efficient products are bound to spike once this program goes into effect.

In addition, we're seeing the push for "green" buildings gain further strength, with Building Star legislation just introduced a few weeks ago to provide tax credits to commercial builders and suppliers. Click here.

These, and more, opportunities are now available -- or will soon be -- for companies that recognize them, research them and determine whether they fit with their business strategy. (Of course, having the resources necessary to take advantage of the opportunities is equally important.)

Opportunity has also been defined as an auspicious state of affairs or a suitable time. A quote by Eleanor Roosevelt captures it this way: "If you prepare yourself ... you will be able to grasp opportunity for broader experience when it appears."

Are you prepared for your next great opportunity?

— By David Walker, vice president of Association Services, National Glass Association

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