Regular readers know that I keep three books on my desk:
- Marketing Your Retail Store In the Internet Age by Bob and Susan Negen
- The Profitable Retailer by Doug Fleener
- The EMyth Revisited by Michael Gerber
I also have a Bible close by and I've lost my copy of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but I pretty much have it memorized.
I also subscribe to the matching blogs for these books. A post earlier this week on the E-Myth blog caught my attention called 10 Ways to Prepare for the New Year. There are for ten positive things that you can do to jump start your business for 2009. I'm not going to repeat them here because you can get them by clicking here. But, I did want to comment on the whole idea of planning for next year.
Face it, we're being bombarded with bad news every day. There's a banking crisis. The stock market has gone completely crazy, down 500 points one day, up 500 points the next. The big three automakers are all flying to Washing DC in their private jets to beg for loans. Pirates are plying the seven seas and gas has gotten "cheap" at less than $2.00 per gallon. It's tempting to curl up under the desk in a fetal position and wait for things to settle down.
But even though the "pundits" are warning of Armageddon, our economy has gone through tough times before and it will again. The point is that it always comes back. During the election, and even now, some so-called "experts" are talking depression. But the conditions today are much different than they were in the 1930s. For one thing, bank deposits are guaranteed. Unless you have all your money at the Bailey Building and Loan, your money is safe. For another thing, the people who understand economics (and I'm not one of them) have tools today that didn't even exist when the last big one hit.
Here's the thing when it comes to your business. Big box stores are in a mess. They placed orders for fall and Christmas merchandise months ago, not knowing that money would be tight in the fourth quarter (even though they should have seen the signs). They're desperate to turn that inventory into cash. The only way for them to do that is spend more money on advertising and lower prices, not a good combination.
That's where you have the advantage. Hopefully your inventory is in line. You're flexible. You're fast. You're like a speed boat racing a barge. You can zip back and forth while they plod along. You can adapt. Take a look at the "10 Ways" article. Take it to heart. The constants are measure,plan, budget, and plan some more.
The end of the year is the perfect time to stop, take a deep breath, and begin anew. As the article says, "Make a commitment to yourself to make 2009 your best yet."