Business Cycles Are Difficult … But Healthy
Those of you who read my weekly column regularly know that I’m forever the optimist. That being said, I’m also a realist. I’m also old enough to have lived through several recessions and know that the business cycle we’re now in is a recession — and it’s shaping up to be a bad one. I also know that, just like before, most of us will come out of it. Recessions are to businesses what forest fires are to forests: necessary, evolutionary cycles that are painful, cleansing and, ultimately, beneficial.
During such cycles, the weak fold or merge and the survivors “retool” to become more productive and effective. The first step is to decide, realistically, which group you’re in. Then, plan accordingly. The next several months, most likely the next year, are going to be very difficult. Even though I have all the faith and confidence in our industry, now is the time to be brutally honest and realistic with yourself. Gather your trusted team and deal with the facts at hand. The numbers don’t lie.
I suspect most of you have had a very challenging October, with November not looking much better. You find yourselves wondering how bad will it get, how long will it continue and how long can you last? All are good questions. Like any good businessperson, you must be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.
I’m sure you and your fellow managers have been thinking about some of these issues, but if not, now is certainly the time. Action’s required now. Take a look at the following areas to address.
* Circulation is our lifeblood, so cutting it drastically is always a bad move. Trimming the fat from your mail plans, reducing the cost of your mail pieces and other cost-reduction moves that don’t impact circulation are needed now.