These are the words that are coming out of the television as I stare at the The Weather Channel wondering where and when Hurricane Frances is going to make landfall. As some of you may be aware, the Clark Publishing corporate offices are located in North Palm Beach, FL. As of a few days ago (September 1), they have backed up all their computer data, mailed off secure copies of any and all important data, scrambled to make last-minute calls, made preparations for their families to wait out the storm, latched down the hurricane shutters, and headed to a safe and secure place. Some of our employees even left town or went across the state to wait it out. They weren’t going to let a little Category 4 hurricane ruin their Labor Day weekend.
This flurry of activity is taking place before things get bad—literally
in the calm before the storm. A glance at the calendar tells us
there is another storm approaching, as many of you are preparing
your workrooms, stores or businesses for the crazy end-of-the-year
holiday rush. Chances are you are ordering additional fabric or
shade components and materials because when the holidays make landfall
you never know how they are going to hit you. Just as we are making
our final preparations for Frances, you should be concurrently doing
the same with your business.
When preparing for the holiday rush several factors come into play.
It is difficult to plan the same way year after year because there
are so many things out of our control that create change. This year
is an election year. What does that mean for retailers and our industry?
Are consumers going to hold back their spending because they do
not know what the culture will be in the government? Do we get out
our crazy Eight Ball and see into the future? What we need to do
is make our plans so that we are overly prepared. Do not wait until
the last minute to order new components, sample books, swatches
or create or update Web sites. The better prepared you are in advance,
the less stressed you will be when the storm hits.