You may recall my applause for Larry Janesky, who has turned "dull" basement transformations into a powerhouse business, Basement Systems Inc. (His portfolio includes his best-selling book, Dry Basement Science.)
Well, Larry's hit a home run, as far as I'm concerned, with an idea he passed on to his dealers—in my experience it's an original.
In short, Larry distinguishes between "busy" and "growth." Simply put, "busy" is booking business in good times—which boosts your revenue growth to the heavens, in the short-term. As to "real growth," it occurs "when the troughs in sales come up, not when the peaks go up." That is, on a chart, the bad times bottom-trough today is higher than the trough during the prior problem period.
In a little more detail, directly from Larry's dealer presentation (imagine quotation marks around what follows):
"Busy": OUTSIDE forces acting positively on my business.
"Growth": INTERNAL forces acting positively on my business.
Good news: Lots of work available, go get it (but it probably won't last).
Bad news: Can't count on it continuing—so don't let your overhead soar!!!
Good news: [Internal-basic] improvements are paying off.
Bad news: Probably been growing because your [internally driven] good work allows you to take competitors' business. But when you [succeed and] become a "big fish in a little pond," you'll have to add higher value to your products to redefine what you do and thus expand the marketspace.
Your call, but I think this approach to business makes a helluva lot of sense—especially to those firms, the great majority in my experience, which did indeed get sloppy during the now departed "good times."