Now through well into Q2 of 2009 stacks up to be the toughest, darkest days ever for America's new-home building business leaders; cash preservation and cash generation obviously will be a mantra for organizations large, medium, and small.

John McManus For some, cash will be life support to eke out a subsistence living, and for a very few others–both strategic and financial–it will make them the smartest buyers of residential real estate holdings in 80 years.

At the moment though, every dollar for either direct or indirect costs must be spent to demonstrably and measurably either cut expense or drive revenue. So an industry business conference, a la Big Builder '08, must qualify as a real essential investment of your money and time.

Here are five reasons I feel you and your brain trust's attendance at this year's event, Nov. 3 through 5 at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort & Convention Center in Washington, D.C., is not just time and money well-spent, but critical.

  • Capital sources will be there–private equity, sovereign wealth, strategic, etc.
  • The 2009 outlooks and projections will allow you to sharpen your '09 budget.
  • The charrettes and workshops across five key disciplines will lead you to your most effective team transformations to position for recovery.
  • Home builder unity on issues dealing with lenders, land sellers, labor, and home buyer insight will improve your odds of winning.
  • You and your peers together make this the smartest way you can spend 56 hours.

Let me explain: Reason 1 ... No time will be riper than November to get in the same room with as many capital sources as possible. Whether it's to pursue a tax-driven transaction to avail of net operating loss carry backs to 2006, or to explore recapitalization via any of the highly creative structures that will emerge as private equity players finally enter the game, you will have an opportunity to personally and directly access both expertise and resources.

Reason 2 ... Our program of keynote speakers and thought leaders will paint both the broad economic picture and a helpful illustration of the forces that can and will bring the cycle back to stabilization. Award-winning behavioral economist Dan Ariely will add a deep level of insight into why both Wall Street and consumer markets often work contrary to logic. Harvard's Eric Belsky knows exactly what data mean the most to you and how to map an action plan based on realistic quantified expectations. JP Morgan's Tom Block will challenge and entertain you as he offers insight.

Reason 3 ... Our day of workshops on Tuesday, Nov. 4 will feature facilitated, collaborative sessions that will draw on experts' and peers' knowledge of what questions to ask, which adaptations to embrace, and how to evolve, mutate, and grow stronger to weather what's ahead. Boiling Point's Jerry Shrair is working with us to transform a talking heads format into a roll-up-your-sleeves collaborative work session. Take-aways in hand, we'll kick back at the Gaylord's Pose Ultra Lounge for a memorable election night in the nation's capital.

Reason 4 ... According to estimates, by the end of the downturn, home building companies may have to give back every hard-earned dollar they made during what had been the industry's most successful era, from 2002 to 2006. What we learned and what we resolve now amounts to this promise: "Never again." There's no time like now to unify over how to fight back for equitable treatment among lenders; no time like now to identify systemic risks to home building business models and eliminate them; no time like now to develop community plan and home design ideas that will reignite home buyers' confidence in buying new. It's time to come together and share both the learning and the ideation to catalyze the best plan for survival and eventual return to profitability.

Reason 5 ... We love you. We want to see you. Plain and simple. This event is yours, through thick and thin.