This is an edited version of the Editor's Comment from our July/August 2021 issue.

Looking to the future is not always a luxury those working in the trade can afford, however it is important to occasionally stop and take stock of where you’re going. 

Many of our readers are either sole traders or run an SME, and it is certainly a challenge juggling the balls involved with running a business, such as invoicing, finances, management, advertising, and actually being on the tools. However, if you don’t give yourself time to plan ahead, there’s always the chance that opportunities might pass you by. 

If you’re struggling to find the time in your day, it could be worth looking at re-evaluating your business systems. Tommy Lee-Zmuda, installer and founder of the Boiler Business, explains on p19 how to set up your business systems to ensure not just that your business is running smoothly, but also that you have enough spare time to spend with your family and friends, or on your hobbies.

Finding the time for future planning will continue to be important for other reasons, including the big changes that are occurring thanks to the government’s decarbonisation programme. With the plan to phase out natural gas over the coming years, many engineers are going to have concerns about how to prepare for what’s next. 

The thought of finding the time needed to become familiar with entirely new systems and technologies is no doubt a head-scratcher for many, but these changes are coming and it is vital to ensure you and your business are in a position of strength when they arrive. If you are forced onto the backfoot then the danger is that your competition speeds off into the distance without you.

As such (unless you plan to retire in the next few years), you should be looking to familiarise yourself with some of these non-gas alternatives. We have a fine selection of features in this issue looking at heat pumps, hybrids, computer-controller infrared heating, and more, which we advise you read in-depth to better acquaint yourself with all the options.