Friday, December 15, 2006

Had a friend and customer, (hey, Paul C.!), come in and say he was enjoying the blog -- but now I had him worried.

One of the things that happens when you write about problems is that people tend to identify you with those problems. But I'll let you in on a little secret I've learned. It's the guys who don't talk about the problems, who tell you everytime you ask, "We're doing GREAT!", that you have to worry about.

I've tried to be consistent. Over the years when we've struggled, I've not been shy about talking about it. But I've also tried to tell people when things are going well.

Things are going well. But I'm a firm believer that only the paranoid survive; it is smart and prudent to be looking at the future, and trying to see problems in the marketplace in advance. I have a few years left in my lease. I see two different factors in my next lease negotiations: the actual level of business, and the percieved level of business.

1.) Both the real level and the percieved level of sales are high. If the rent goes up significantly, I may decide it is worth it. Or I may be doing well enough to change venue, for something bigger or more visible. Ir the landlord may want the space to build something bigger, but I'll have made enough money to move effectively.

2.) The real level is high, but the percieved level is low. Best of all scenario's, and the most unlikely.

3.) The real level is low, but the percieved level is high. The most dangerous of the possibilities, and very possible. That is the one I need to be prepared for, by being in a position to adjust.

4.) The real level is low, and the percieved level is low. This usually takes a few years to develop after an actual downturn. Don't know if there is enough time for that, but if so, then hopefully rents and such will have moderated.

I tend to believe these things work out for the best. All four scenarios have their pluses and minus's. Whatever happens, I've become pretty good at shlupping my way through.

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