Perhaps a more pertinent and prudent tradition is examining our current status as professionals and resolving to do better, or to do more in the year ahead. The usual stumbling blocks to this exercise are where to begin, and which direction to go first. To help get you going we've devoted several pages in this month's issue of Draperies & Window Coverings to this very topic. No matter if you're an independent designer, specialty retailer, fabricator or manufacturer you will find sound business and career advice and an idea or two on advertising and sales.
Begin with the Special Report, "Outlook '99". Top industry suppliers were asked how our readers could make the most of sales in 1999. Their responses are comprehensive and poignant. You'll find ideas here on in-store displays, sales techniques and equipment purchases. Their most often repeated advice is to provide outstanding customer service, which includes expanding product lines into high-demand/high-growth areas, increasing product and application knowledge and building a reputation for offering the best in everything you do. The most important aspect of this advice, however, is that it covers everyone along the distribution channel. It applies both to the relationships retailers and designers have with clients and to the relationships retailers and designers need to forge with their suppliers and fabricators. It all comes down to understanding and fulfilling needs.
But it doesn't end there, we also offer business strategies for remaining healthy during the recession that most analysts see coming (see Business Management), an examination of the pros and cons of radio and television advertising to reach more customers (see Window Treatment Advertising), helpful tips on distinguishing yourself as a true professional in the eyes of your clients (see Design Solutions and Workroom Operations), and to top it all off a preview of products that manufacturers believe will be the hot sellers in the months ahead (see Showcase).
Making a fresh start as a new year begins is always an exciting proposal-especially now that the end-of-the-year rush has quieted and there is time to regroup and plan ahead. Use that time wisely, several months from now you'll be glad you did. Happy New Year!