Alternative energy sources

Today, wind farms, photovoltaics, fuel cells and other alternative energy sources produce less than 10 percent of our energy requirements. Tomorrow, that figure will grow. Watch this market.

Builders

Have a cup of coffee with a home builder in your market to see how your company's products or services can make his or her life easier.

Cross-pollination

Seek out companies in your local market from other distribution industries and try to learn from them.

Data synchronization

The success or failure of IDEA and other e-business initiatives will depend on the commitments all industry players make to synchronizing product data in a common format.

Energy efficiency

Whoever figures out how to really sell efficiency will become very rich.

Forecasts

EW's Economic Factbook article on page 28 and last month's Market Planning Guide can help you plan for 2004.

Grainger

Even the smallest electrical distributor can learn from this distribution giant.

Housing market

Home building continues to outshine other market segments. How can you make it more important to your business?

IDEA

IDEA offers proven solutions to eliminating waste in sales transactions.

Journey

Employees are easy to hire and tough to fire. If you are hiring in 2004, don't rush to hire anyone you may be working with for the long haul. As Publius Syrus said in 42 B.C., “An agreeable companion on a journey is as good as a carriage.”

Kato

Bruce Lee played Kato, the Green Hornet's side kick in the TV show. (Okay, so there's really only 25 ideas here, but it was between sales opportunities with K-rated transformers and Kato.) Did you know that Lee won the role and was paid $400 per episode because of his kick-boxing abilities?

LEDs

Light-emitting diodes will revolutionize the lighting industry because of their hundreds of thousands of hours of life. Keep them on your radar screen.

Mentoring

Make it a point to take a new employee under your wing in 2004 and help them learn more about their job, your company, or the electrical industry as a whole.

NAW

Consider joining the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, which brings together distributors of many different construction trades.

Optimism

Attitude is everything.

Pogo

Problems and solutions are often within ourselves. This comic-strip philosopher said it best, “We have met the enemy, and he is us!”

QED

Not “Quite Easily Done,” or QED Inc., the Denver-based electrical distributor. Try “Quick and Efficient Data.” See IDEA.

Reasons to be cheerful

It's more than the title of a song from Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Making lists of reasons to be thankful is good for the soul.

SPAs

Distributors and manufacturers are talking about cooperating on a standard format for special pricing authorizations.

Trade associations

Trade associations often suffer from the unfortunate fact of life that 5 percent of the members pull 95 percent of the load. Get involved.

Utility construction

Yes, utility construction is down in the dumps. No, it won't stay there forever. The reconstruction of the power grid is just too important for the United States. Stay close to the utilities in your market.

Vacancy

Until vacancy rates decline across the United States, there won't be any widespread rebound in the vital office construction segment. Watch this all-important statistic in your market.

Wireless networking

This technology will continue to find new applications in retrofit construction projects, warehouses and homes.

X-factor

A pent-up need to maintain factory equipment and upgrade computer systems will give the economy some life in 2004.

Yankee ingenuity

Despite the scare over the loss of manufacturing and technical jobs, the free flow of ideas and capital in the United States still make this the most fertile ground in the world for new ideas and businesses to take root.

ZZZ

Make some progress with a few of these ideas, and treat yourself to a power nap.