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Preparing for the Inevitable: Tactics for Surviving Business Slowdowns

(November 2007) posted on Wed Nov 07, 2007

Business occasionally tapers off, but with right strategy you can keep your company healthy during economic slumps. The following discussion explains how you can anticipate downturns and what you can do to keep the work coming.

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By Mike Ukena

Long-time readers of this publication may remember that I addressed the issue of business slowdowns a few years ago. Well, I’m at it again—with a slightly different twist—because I feel that it is one of the most important issues screen-printing business owners face. Businesses in general, but especially screenprinting businesses, have a tendency to forgo planning for non-seasonal business cycles. I speak from personal experience. I too was blindsided by a credit crunch/ business downturn in the early 1990s. I hope that this article will help you avoid the major trauma that these downturns can cause.

As you may have noticed, the doom-and-gloom group is getting a lot of press time these days. The mortgage crisis, the sinking dollar, the stock market, and other factors are creating an edginess that has infected the media and is starting to trickle down into the general public. I hate this self-fulfilling prophesy garbage myself. Most of the time, the only thing really wrong in the economy is the people who want to see it collapse. But the media loves a story, and they will make one if they cannot find one on their own.

What does this mean to screen printers? It means quite a bit actually. But it does not have to be negative. Every time there is an economic slowdown, companies and individuals look for ways to conserve capital and stay afloat. At the same time, your customers cannot just shut off the ad budgets, or they will die. What they must do is find the most effective ways to advertise and cut down on the frills. Since screen printing represents one of their advertising sources, the key for us is to make sure we are chosen as a place where they continue to spend their promotional dollars.

Most printers are now heading into their slower season. What better time to take a few minutes to think about how efficient your business is running instead of being slapped with a slowdown during peak times, when you are trying to make the profits necessary to support the business for the rest of the year?


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