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

February 2012
When the recession deepened, many contracting businesses depleted liquidity. As markets recover, now is an appropriate time to review investment strategies for rebuilding lost wealth. This month, we take a look at a common investment vehicle and one system for selecting products. READ MORE
January 2012
Recent economic forecasts offer some hope for electrical contractors in 2012. As market conditions improve, it is more important than ever to avoid common contractor mistakes. Ensure you are alert to these business killers, and you will focus on ways to guarantee your success in the coming year. READ MORE
December 2011
Business decisions are sometimes based on beliefs that are sheer nonsense. As you plan for a profitable new year, take a hard look at these ideas that sound good but have little validity. Subcontractors are powerless Subcontractors perform the majority of the work, and construction would stop if they chose to cease operations. READ MORE
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