The National Stationery Show sent out a great HTML newsletter today. I really appreciate that they are reaching out to all the participants about the business outlook of 2010 and beyond. They are right, as you will read below, we are past a giant retail boom, for now. However, retail is still strong for those who have great customer service, inspirational design, wonderful craftsmanship, and the keep you on the edge of your seat what comes next product. It is true, we are in a very competitive market place this day and age. And, with us all being on the Internet 24/7 we are able to pick and choose from so many places to buy items and services.
So, how do I stay on top of the game? I have tried to keep my designs as original as possible but no matter what someone has done it or will... originality will only go so far. I think the key is to keep your style fresh and evolve your imagery. If you start to see a style becoming trendy it can be a curse of death sometimes and may be time to look for new angle to capture the audience. Customer service and integrity also goes a long way. And, in the end, visualization of your goals. Where do you see yourself? What do you really want out of the business? It cannot all be about money or press. And, when it is the road ahead is often dark even if you end up rich. Happiness, for me anyway, must come first. In preparation for NSS 2010, my intention has been to create a fun line that makes people smile and inspires them to stick with written correspondence and sentimental gifts. And, to put love into all of it with the best intentions realizing that every action has a reaction.
Words from the NSS newsletter by Chrsitian M. Fulghum, VP Midoro, Inc.
First, accept that everything has changed. Americans are spending less and saving more. They are going to the cobbler instead of buying new shoes. This recession is not the end of the world, but it is the end of a long boom, and it requires us to re-think everything about our business.
Second, ask yourself some hard questions about what is working, and what is not. The danger is in underestimating how much change is necessary. Under-responding could be fatal to your company.
Third, accept responsibility for making the change. No one else is going to do this for you. You didn’t make the mess, but no one else is going to bail you out or make everything alright. Not the government, not your customers, not your mom.
Fourth, take immediate short term action to shore up your balance sheet and preserve cash. There has never been a better time to be independent of your bank.
Fifth, make a strategic plan. Take a good long look down the road and plan for the future of your business. Focus on investing for the long run, and on sustainable growth. Differentiate your company from the rest. Make it easy for customers to identify your value proposition.
"At Midori, we have cut costs, simplified processes, focused our offerings, strengthened our balance sheet, and reaffirmed our core values. We are actively and creatively planning for our future: new products, new ideas, and new ways to delight our customers. We are not focused on what we cannot change. We are focused on what we can. And we are inspired and grateful."
For all of you out there preparing to start a new business or maintain one I hope this post has helped and you have a wonderful weekend!