A letter from Connecting for Results, CEO Gordon Griffiths
As countries adapt to COVID, we are seeing hospitality, travel, and other activities returning to pre-COVID levels. We are also feeling good about print growth again. For those that don’t know me, I am as positive a person as you can get. But I also believe that if you prepare for the bad times in the good times, you will be a survivor.
Too many knowledgeable people in North America are forecasting a decline in sales as the year continues, and a recession within the next year. We are reading about it in Forbes, Bloomberg, and the Financial Post and we should heed warning: if you are blind to a downturn, I can tell you from experience, you may not survive.
Plan & Move Now
An example of anticipating and preparing for a recession occurred in my Quebecor Printing days in the early 90s, when I was President. Business had been good and, after all, Quebecor had just purchased Ronalds in 1988 – a profitable merger. Life was good! Then from on high, we were ordered to cut payroll by 5% – however, no one said we couldn’t hire or give wage increases and they didn’t assign anyone to oversee us. But, at the monthly financial meeting, we would all know in 5 seconds if we knew how to execute a company-wide mandate…
Quebecor cared most about two groups: Sales (customers) and Financials (banks). Sales were supported and the financial people were heard. We implemented the cuts and, being in Canada, the severance costs were high but, because the business was booming, we hardly noticed the impact on profits. Beats being in a position where you can’t afford to cut costs, and I have witnessed many companies in that position!
As anticipated, within 12 months we were in a recession but our company was in good shape and our attitude was “what recession?”. Sales and profits continued to grow. We were winners and the guy from on high was a genius.
Today, I think we need to get ready for an economic downturn as soon as early 2023. Maybe there won’t be a recession and maybe I’m not a genius, but you will have a more valuable company if you are proactive. A recession, or the threat of one, makes you think about turnaround strategies, or like someone who decides to sell their company and works to improve their bottom line. But why should you wait for an event in order to take action and improve your company’s performance?
There are always 3 areas on which you can focus:
Sales (more), Costs (less), Bank (keep on side). Yes, it’s not an overnight fix, but improvements can happen faster than you think. And it will never happen if you don’t start the process. While there is no certainty in this world, it is always best to hope for the best and plan for the worst.
Today, I believe the team at Connecting for Results is equipped to supply the tools and advice to help printers market their business, improve sales or operational efficiencies, develop talent, improve workflow, manage assets better, etc. All of which show results in a timely manner. Our marketing materials will tell you we focus on print but the one thing we don’t talk about, which I believe is key to our brand, is that all of our associates have worked in a business other than consulting, most are or have been business owners, and they have worked with each other before. The common thread is that we all put the effort, enthusiasm, and value into a project as if it was our own business. We want to help PRINT because we know its value and its possibilities.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Go forth, plan, and prosper,