Denise Norberg-Johnson

Financial Columnist

Denise Norberg-Johnson is a former subcontractor and past president of two national construction associations. She may be reached at

Articles by Denise Norberg-Johnson

November 2011
A century before electrical contracting existed, Victor Hugo wrote, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Rapidly changing technology requires more progressive thinking today, but the powerful idea that appears as an outlier often goes unrecognized. READ MORE
October 2011
Financial planning and strategizing during chaotic economic times is like white-water rafting without a paddle. As you bounce between rocks, holding tight and hoping your craft doesn’t spring a leak, you analyze your situation. You can’t see the end of the turbulence through the spray, and you have no way to steer. READ MORE
August 2011
Electrical contractors are realists. While you may long for a Utopian world in which your employees whistle happily as they create perfect work for delighted customers who pay you on time, earning you a healthy profit, you don’t expect this outcome. Recognizing that perfection is impossible, you are willing to settle for fewer “uff da” moments. READ MORE
July 2011
Leverage is generally defined as the ability to generate more results with less direct effort. You cannot lift a truck directly to change a tire, so you use a jack to leverage your effort. In your electrical contracting business, leverage is the use of long-term borrowed capital to increase the return on owner equity. Financial leverage measures the effect of interest rates on borrowed debt. READ MORE
June 2011
Gen. Colin Powell said, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” Would this philosophy improve financial decision-making in an electrical contracting business? It worked in my family’s contracting business, though I didn’t realize it at the time. READ MORE
May 2011
The need for security drives financial planning. Business owners attempt to ensure the survival of their operations by preparing for likely events and asserting control over the future. You reinvest profit, negotiate the best loan rates, and hold onto your cash, deluding yourself that strategy and analysis will protect you from the forces of change. READ MORE
April 2011
Continuing the theme of “RESOLUTION” that we began last month, the letter “E” represents three concepts—efficiency, effectiveness and excellence. Each electrical contractor integrates these concepts into their operations differently because they reflect individual vision and business strategy. READ MORE
March 2011
By now, most New Year’s resolutions have been forgotten, but the ability to “re-solve” and respond to changing conditions is imperative for your business in these uncertain times. For the remainder of 2011, these columns will form a 10-part series using the acronym RESOLUTION. Let’s begin with the concept of resilience. READ MORE
February 2011
No matter how you view the results of the recent elections, you may be hoping for a reduction in government spending for 2011 and wishing you could teach Uncle Sam some of the business lessons you have learned. READ MORE