From Home Furnishing Business
Boy, is it ever time for spring.
I need to buy a new Market tie—or maybe more than one. It has been a long winter.
I spend a portion of my time in the publishing side of the business and also in the sometimes brainiac environment of business intelligence via FurnitureCore. My primary focus, however, is management consulting and, more specifically, the strategies to create high performance companies.
The process is fairly straightforward. It involves taking the more traditional approach to strategy by assessing a company’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats—A good, old-fashioned SWOT analysis. Since we work only in the home furnishings industry, we are able to drill down to a significant level of specificity.
One area of investigation is external factors. These are defined as factors outside the control of the company that may significantly impact the performance of the company. The first quarter has seen an abundance of such.
First, we had the slowly emerging dock strike. Then, Mother Nature commanded a repeat performance of last year with her blow of extreme winter weather in the Northeast. These events are following in the not too distant past one of the most extreme financial disruptions that the United States has ever experienced.
All of these factors are, for the most part, outside the scope of what a company can control. These repeated body blows are when the president and the senior management team of a company earn their pay and more. It is also at this time that the leadership is defined. This is when all eyes go to the end of the conference table with implied looks that say, “What should we do?”
First of all management must believe that it will be over. The dock strike will be settled. Spring will occur even in Providence, R.I. And, yes, the recession will end. There are three steps that you may want to consider as you go forward.
· Initially, one must understand the financial impact of what has happened. This translates to cash flow.
· Next, manage the expectations of your customers by keeping them informed.
· The third action is to make long-term decisions. These should be carefully thought-out decisions. Resist the urge to make a decision that may impact the company—good or bad—and must be answered for later.
And oh, yes—go buy that new tie.