The sky is falling… or maybe not |

The sky is falling… or maybe not

Maybe we’ll get epic snow again this year and the sun will come out, we’ll max out our bed base, the parking on the frontage roads will remain a “problem,” the shops will be sold out and bereft of goods and the restaurants will need a loaves and fishes miracle to feed the masses.

Or, maybe the trend data, warnings from the experts and fear in the consumer segment are real and we’re really not all that insulated from the dire reality of those living beyond the borders of Happy Valley. I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that smart business owners should prepare ” for the next 12 months at least ” for leaner times.

How? First, take a close look at your business. Are expenses under control? Can you purchase better? Are you marketing consistently to your target audience in appropriate traditional and interactive media? Are your PR efforts regular and newsworthy? Is your service level making brand missionaries of your customers and clients? Are your sales promotions unique, exciting and effective? Look to the basics for answers before you try anything radical. And don’t forget to check in with your trade/industry associations for guidance on what your peers are doing to cope.

Second, get some intelligence on the salient issues. Attend the economic development meetings scheduled nearby in the near future. Some good ones? “Resort Communities Surviving the Economic Storm: A Symposium for Idea Exchange,” at the Vilar Center (morning sessions) and the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek (breakout sessions), today, Oct. 16, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. At-the-door registration is $25. Also, “Vail’s Competitive Edge: Addressing the Dynamics of an Evolving Economy,” Vail Town Council Chambers, Oct 21 from 10 ” 11:30 a.m. Free admission.

Then, get in touch with the Vail Valley Partnership, or your local chamber or business association, and be sure you’re taking advantage of your marketing, networking and affinity/business savings benefits with each group.

Another key component of surviving this storm is customer service quality. Make sure yours is honed to perfection. Attend the partnership’s “View from the Top” program Nov. 19 at the Vilar Center and see what you can do immediately at low or no cost to keep your valuable customers, clients and employees coming back for more. Also, remember to sign up for the partnership’s “Destination Experience” Platinum Service Program so you can validate your service quality with factual information.

Leverage your assets, set your benchmarks and you’ll make it through. Bluebirds and bunnies are on the horizon ” just make sure you’re prepared to get past the flying monkeys along the yellow brick road.

Famed physicist Marie Curie observed that, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” So gain an understanding of what’s going on and configure your business to deal with it the best you are able. When you’re doing all you can do, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that you’re doing all you can do. When things get better, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

Oh, and don’t forget, Amendment 47, the “Right to Work” amendment is still lurking out there. We urge you vote “Yes” on 47.

Partnership Event Update:

– Oct. 30: Nonprofit Educational Seminar, 8:30 “11:30 a.m., at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards.

– Nov. 19: A View from the Top customer service seminar presented by Carol Verret, nationally known resort service consultant and trainer, 8 “11 a.m. at the Vilar Center. This is a Vail Resorts Merchant Ski Pass qualifying event. Call Ruth Carlson, 970- 477-4002, to reserve your seats.

– Nov. 19: Business After Hours Mixer, 5 ” 7 p.m. at the Snow Sport Outreach Society office in Edwards. Free to Vail Valley Partnership members.

Michael Kurz is President and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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