It’s interesting how easy it sometimes is, in the heat of anxiety, to forget simple, basic truths. People often react foolishly—even against their own best interests—grabbing for any ideas in a panic when the solution is to remain calm, focused and do the work that needs to be done.
Today, business might not be the ideal we all picture in our minds or remember from the past, but the basic truths have not changed—they never will. Personal customer service, solving client problems, top quality products, expert installation and business knowledge from marketing to profit-and-loss statements are what got successful dealers and decorators where they are today and will see them through in times ahead.
This is a time of opportunity—a time to reconnect with your best customers; to review which product lines are profitable, which aren’t; to get your name and services out there in a big way so you are the first one customers think of; to make the calls; to learn new skills; to redefine your market position; to take the lead; to do the work that needs to be done.
Few window coverings professionals have faced the challenges of Edith Williamson, this month’s cover story (page 20). She has faced them all with irrepressible determination and a desire to be successful. Her formula: Do not give up, believe in what you do, keep polishing your skills, keep learning and, perhaps best of all, target the right market. “Twenty-two to 24 percent of the population can afford custom draperies . . . I’ve learned by heart the ZIP codes that are important to the business,” she says. She even sees the silver lining is surviving Hurricane Ike. Edith believes if she can make get, others can too.
This is the sort of positive attitude this industry—and all businesses—need. Many will run scared. They’ll watch what their competitors are doing and react. In the end, nothing changes. In fact, things likely will get worse for them. This is a time to step up, not follow the downward spiral.
This used to be known as gut-check time. The time when those who really want it, have a plan to get it, and are willing to make it happen will rise above the field. These are the people and the companies we’ll be hearing about and reading about throughout 2009, the Edith Williamsons who get to where they won’t turn back, learn from the experience and build on it going forward.
Draperies & Window Coverings