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Your Business, the Stock Market, and Your Future

By Shane O’Neill, Vice President

The 2008 financial crisis was an event we could all do without again. Some businesses never made it out alive and others are still recovering. Proceeding with caution, preserving capital and waiting it out were the prevailing attitudes. The first thing to get cut was marketing, yet that knee-jerk reaction, in most cases, only amplified the situation. However, there were others who saw the financial crisis as an opportunity and seized it, but not without careful planning and foresight.

Your business is like the stock market

Just like the stock market, the economy has its ups and downs too. In fact, they’re tied together. Stocks go down, people lose money, people get worried, people spend less. That’s common knowledge. There is also a common saying of “Buy when there’s blood in the water.” That is to say, when everyone else is selling, you should be buying. It takes guts, but if you had the fortitude to buy up to the March 9, 2009 market bottom, well… you probably made some serious cash. Everyone else was selling as, each day, the market fell hundreds of points, racking up huge losses. People kept seeing their losses mount -30%, -50%, -70%, or more. At some point, they cracked. They couldn’t take it any longer… they sold. And yet there was a buyer who saw an opportunity and seized it.

The jewelry business saw the same type of decimation. Sales plummeted, jewelers lost money, jewelers got worried, jewelers stopped marketing. Blood in the water. However, there were also small bands of enlightened jewelers who saw an opportunity. Opportunity to seize market share. While everyone else cut marketing spends, these jewelers stayed the course and some increased their marketing spend, determined to own the market when the dust settled.

Is there a storm brewing?

There haven’t been any raindrops yet, but there could be some clouds starting to form. December was flat to down for a number of independent jewelers and for some higher end jewelers, those bigger ticket sales just weren’t there. Those Boomer customers are transitioning into retirement and the stock market had a huge correction from mid-October through the Holiday season, along with the ongoing trade issues with China. People had mini flashes of 2008 and these issues might well have impacted holiday sales. However, both the market and talks with China have improved as of late, but all of this can make a business owner more than a little nervous. And so the cycle begins.

While the writing on the wall is certainly not set in stone, there are a number of headwinds that could rear their ugly head. The question is; what’s your plan? Are you going to cut your marketing if things get challenging? That’s not really a plan. What’s your market look like? What position is your store in that market? What are your competitors doing? How are your sales trending? Are you in a position to attack, or are you the prey?

It’s time to get your house in order, get your marketing right and get ready to pounce. I smell blood in the water, but it’s not mine…I always liked storms.

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