There’s no doubt times are tough. Earlier this week, the New York Times announced that employers made approximately 62,000 job cuts on Monday alone, evidence that the economy continues to plummet. The signs are there in retail, as well. Store owners are struggling to make sales, keep their top talent and, in some cases, simply break even. So, what are independent lighting showrooms to do in the wake of such economic upheaval?
According to Stephen J. Mulvany, President of consulting firm Management Tools Inc., as tempted as we are to hide our heads in the sand and wait until the storm passes over, now is the time to take decisive action.
“War time demands a different kind of leader and a different kind of decision-making,” Mulvany says. “Now is not the time to be mediocre. Go after ‘it’ and have fun!”
During the January Dallas Market, Mulvany met with a group of lighting retailers and manufacturers — all members of the American Lighting Association (ALA) — for a free ALA-hosted seminar “Gaining the Advantage in Tough Times.” Inspiring a candid dialogue with his audience, Mulvany offered the following seven tips for actions all business owners should consider in order to survive the current downturn.
1. Determine your marketplace assumptions for the next 18 to 24 months. Know what you’re up against.
2. Estimate a very conservative revenue forecast for the next 12 months. Now is the time to be realistic.
3. Based on achieving 80 percent of that forecast, establish an appropriate cost structure.
4. Make tough people decisions. How much do we let people get negative?
5. Stay in touch with high performers within your company and within the industry. You want to best people on your side.
6. Begin a “vision 2012.” Think about differentiation, as well as what types of talent you’ll need when the economy turns around. What will define the look and feel of your business?
7. Get more outbound aggressive. Go after what will make your business great.
Source: Stephen J. Mulvany, Management Tools Inc.