Happy New Year!
I know its a little late to say that, but truthfully it felt like the new business year did not start until January 7th. With Christmas and New Years on a Tuesday, many folks took extended vacations or worked shorter days. Be that as it may, we are here. 2013 is off and rolling. And I for one am glad.
Mel posted an article in the blog this week from The New York Times. It was about business optimism and can we afford to be optimistic [Can I Afford to be Optimistic? by Jay Goltz].
Normally, I would look at articles like that and scoff. My nature is to hate articles that temper market/business optimism. But this is different. This article spoke to me as it relates to our business in particular. Those who know me, know that I am more than a glass half full guy. As Mel often says, you need a yellow wet-floor sign around my glass because it is always overflowing.
Recently, I attended an informative economic seminar that spoke to many of the same points in the NYT’s article. The simple fact is we took a HUGE hit going into this recession as an economy. A hit that takes a really, really big recovery to get back to even. And while we are all very happy that the economy is growing, it’s growing at a very small rate. Most economist estimate 3-4% a year at the most. Yes, that is a positive recovery, albeit a very paced (and exceedingly frustrating) one.
I now have much more of a split personality. Ask our Eastern Regional Manager, Reid Sherwood. He often makes the comment, “You really have changed a lot in the past couple of years.” Part of that is just being more “in the business” than I ever was before. What I mean is that I am here everyday for the most part. I travel less than I did because I now have small children. And frankly, I have that luxury as we’ve grown and added dedicated territory reps like Jen and Reid.
When I made the decision to travel less, I also made a commitment to get more involved in the day-to-day operations of the business. In doing so, you never loose the Optimistic Sales Side of your personality, but you have to balance that with the practical reality of the economics of the business. It’s been a great learning experience for me, but one that truly has given me a split personality. 🙂
Optimism Wears Sensible Shoes
I think you should walk away if you ever loose your sense of optimism. But I also know that this recession has taught us that you have to temper your optimism with reality. Most of which is driven by managing expenses. The simple fact is, it’s much wiser to manage your expenses than to project large overly optimistic sales increases to cover expenses.
. . . 2013 will be GREAT! And we WILL see another year of revenue gains. But we will experience that with a discipline for managing costs and channeling money into development and training. We have to — we all do. The simple fact is we are still climbing out of a big hole as a nation. And at 3-4% growth, we have a long way to go. Hopefully as small businesses (the heart of American business), we can all be realistic stewards of our businesses, and maybe even inspire our government a little along the way
OK, that was the optimistic side of my personality sneaking out. Bring me a mop.
Looking forward to another great week. I love January (and February, March, and April) when it tests our abilities to maximize every opportunity, to take design to the next level, and to pull another rabbit out of the hat. This is our Black Monday folks. When we turn every “touch” into a long-term business relationship.