The more I crunch the numbers, the more perverse satisfaction I take in how I prepared for this downturn. I don't want to sound cocky or smug, but....I think I've planned for this well.
Of course, if it's a long enough and bad enough downturn, it might not be possible to endure without damage. But within reason, I'm prepared.
And whether I was conscious of it or not, that is exactly what I've been doing for the last five years. Preparing. I may not have known when it would come, or how it would manifest itself, but I knew something like this was coming.
You can't be in business as long as I have been without experiencing at least one or two of these situations.
So, in the back of my mind, I've been shoring up the store for years.
For instance, keeping the overhead low. Trying to increase the margins. Driving sales as high as I could when times were good, in as many categories as I could manage.
I'm not, as I have been in the past, dependent only on regulars. Nor, like many stores in downtown Bend am I dependent on walk-by traffic. I feel I've got a good mix of the two.
I'm not, as I have been in the past, caught off guard, with my pants down, going into the slowest time of the year and having completely over committed to product in advance.
I'm not, as I have been in the past, dependent on one or two product lines. I have about 8 product lines, any of which could produce the sales numbers I need on any given day.
I'm not, as I have been in the past, caught with an empty store, selling dated material, and flailing around looking for viable product.
I'm not, as I have been in the past, paying for commercial loans at the bank, as well as maxed out and overdue on my credit cards, and an empty bank balance, and juggling my monthly bills.
I have a store full of viable product, and I don't have to order more and gamble more and hope that people buy. Or cut deals with every even slightly interested customer and thrash my profit margins. I need only replace the best of the product, get my weekly shipments, and that's a much less risky and stress free situation.
I don't want anyone to think I'm happy with a downturn, or that I take pleasure in it. I'm knocking wood as I write this.
Nevertheless, I've had plenty of experience with downturns, and I'm aware that if I can make it through this time without debt, and can accrue any cash at all, I'll be able to maximize the opportunities when I see the market start to take an upturn. I have faith that I'll be able to recognize a true upturn just as I was able to see the downturn, in plenty of time to prepare.
2 weeks ago