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Opportunity vs Reality – Insanity or Insanely Simple

Stating the obvious: no matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it.

No matter how great a product, service, company or person is, someone may still misunderstand.

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When misunderstanding takes hold – or something goes the wrong way – what does the motivated business professional do?

  1. Nothing, just accept the status quo.
  2. Work only with those who don’t misunderstand, even if those numbers are very limited.
  3. Work with those who understand, plus strive to marshal the witnesses and resources needed to change the perception for an ever-growing number of other potential customers.

While you are pondering that (to the extend it needs much consideration at all! ;-) let’s peek at the following reality.

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Image credit, Everything is Obvious.

Insanity vs. Insanely Simple

Our industry ought to be insanely simple.  As Bloomberg notes below, there is a spreading affordable housing crisis, and we have the quality, affordable homes that can solve it for millions of Americans. Duh, right?

But for anyone who has been active in this industry on

  • the front lines,
  • management,
  • investment or
  • ownership level for a reasonable period of time, they (…and you) know we have an MH Image Issue.  They – or most MHProNews readers and a professional like yourself – know that the industry’s image is often undeserved.
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Image credit, MHLivingNews.com.

But what is being done about changing that image in a practical way?

  • There are, in fact, companies who strive to improve their own image. That’s important and valuable.
  • There are collaborative efforts like the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association launched recently, designed to dispel myths.
  • Other associations and operations have or are doing such things.

All such good efforts are to be commended and have value.

But what we can’t afford to ignore are the very real issues that keep millions of more people from embracing our industry.

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Credit, Bloomberg, click to see DBN report.

Look at what Bloomberg said about our industry the other day, listing the good, but also citing the problematic history and then saying to our industry, that we need to rebrand!

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Titus Dare, SVP, Eagle One Financial.

Then, consider what industry veterans like Titus Dare and Tom Fath said in their recent Op-Eds – raising important points, which

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Tom Fath, Operations, partner, New Durham Estates.

need to be understood.  Because simple cheerleading which ignores real or perceived issues not only won’t solve what limits us; it could – as each of the two pros said in their own words linked above – backfire.

 

Dust Under the Proverbial Rug?

Ever do housecleaning?

Ever sweep dust under an actual rug?

Maybe as a kid, we might do something like that, but most motivated adults know better! The dust piles up, and it becomes noticeable.

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Credibility is a point that both Tom Fath and Titus Dare raised, independent of each other, in their columns. Ignoring issues doesn’t help, tackling them is the only reasonable option. But what MH needs isn’t what the the RV industry did with GoRVing… our situation is unique. We need a tailored approach, that is market based, yet national in the sense that each market has its own specific, targeted efforts that showcase the good, but address the perception issues.

You don’t sweep years and years of dust under the rug, watch the pile grow and hope that it somehow magically goes away.  It took years to get the MH image to the low ebb we are at today.

The MH Image won’t change overnight. That means a sustained effort must be made.  Such an effort will bring billions of dollars in new sales to manufactured housing every year.

Again, look at what Bloomberg said last week – so this isn’t just the Masthead’s perspective – or just those pros linked above – it’s the view of many in and outside of manufactured housing.

While I think Bloomberg’s closing suggestion is well meaning, it has its own flaw – but their general point is correct.  Manufactured housing will not achieve its potential, so long as we operate under this cloud of decades-old misunderstandings and dated, heavy baggage.  Those were elements of the parting thoughts of MHI’s prior president.

So while we in manufactured housing are advancing for several years now from the post-2008 crash bottom, we ought not sit on our laurels.  Our HUD Code MH sales – as well as those on the modular side – are a fraction of what they once were, and what they could become again.

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But we can’t keep doing the same things, the same way and expect a different result.  We all know that such an approach is the popular definition of insanity.

Yet, isn’t that what the industry has de facto done for decades?  Again, MHI’s prior president suggested as much.

The Solution for Profitable MH Growth is Insanely Simple

As professionals and as an industry, we must learn to tell our story well, and keep improving upon that story telling;

  • we must spotlight what is already good and
  • tackle what is problematic or misunderstood.

We must do the above from every vantage point, not only our own, but that of others:

  • showcasing how the vast majority of our industry’s home owners love their home, community and lifestyle.
  • From the perspective of experts, who know and respect our industry.
  • From the perspective of our MH industry’s professionals,
  • but also from the perspective of those who are naysayers!
  • We must tackle what the naysayers are pushing out via the media, politicians, policy advocates, etc.

Where industry critics are correct, we ought to make the needed changes. When naysayers are wrong, we need to clearly showcase WHY they are wrong.

Once we get the above elements right…

…Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

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Joe Dyton.

Against that backdrop, please take another look at what we’ve been doing in recent weeks on the Daily Business News

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RC Williams

on MHProNews  and what we are doing on MHLivingNews.com.

For this to be done properly and the most effectively, we need your professional voices, your expertise and your support on every level to move MH ahead.

Because as valuable as other sources in our industry might be – we proudly proclaim the obvious – there are none in industry trade publishing that are doing what we’re doing, quite like we are, as noted in the outlined above.

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Logos for MHProNews (click here for home page) and Manufactured Home Living News (click here).

Only MHProNews and MHLivingNews are consistently, routinely spotlight the good in MH trade journalism, while tackling the thorny issues that rightly or wrongly hold MH back.

That’s the view from the Masthead.

And you say…? ##

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Jan Hollingsworth, award winning journalist, featured on MHLivingNews.

Programing/Scheduling Notices: You will see some more meaty/thorny and positive moving ahead topics tackled on MHProNews and MHLivingNews, starting as soon as early this week. Please check them out. YOUR Thoughtful feedback – on or off the record – is encouraged.

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, MH Industry publisher, consultant and popular speaker.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

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