every two weeks, FCNews seeks out flooring retailers across the country to offer their advice on hot topics of the day. This week we asked: What have you learned from past downturns that better prepare you today?
Here are their responses:
We make sure we always have cash reserves to sustain our business for a few months, if needed. Since we are owner/operators, a slow period gives us time to rethink our business model, clean up inefficiencies and fine-tune goals. When we are in the trenches during busy periods, we never seem to have the time to work on our business.
—Kevin Murray, Murray Floor & Window Coverings, Billings, Mont.
Act but don’t overreact. Take steps to shore up cash flow, negotiate everything harder and reduce spending on inventory and marketing—but do so in small incremental steps.
—Kevin Fraizer, Fraizer’s Carpet One Floor & Home, Knoxville, Tenn.
What we have learned about past slowdowns is that your customer service and reputation play a tremendous role in carrying you through. All the work you have put into making sure you are taking great care of your customers in the past pays off.
—Jon Dauenhauer, Carpet World Bismarck, Bismarck, ND
During the past years we have tried to keep our overhead down, so when downturns happen overhead isn’t something we have to struggle with. I know in other markets people have multiple stores, which are necessary because cities are large, but we have always felt the Tulsa market is easy enough to get around; opening other stores would be adding needless overhead. So, we go with operating as lean as possible.
—Penny Carnino, Grigsby’s Carpet, Tile & Hardwood, Tulsa, Okla.
Try to have cash reserves. Analyze all expenses and eliminate what you can. But keep your name out there. Don’t eliminate all your advertising.
—Elisabeth Stubbs, Enhance Floors & More, Marietta, Ga.
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