Vail business strategies during a difficult economy
VAIL, Colorado Last Tuesday the Vail Chamber & Business Association held one of its monthly membership meetings. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss business strategies during difficult economic times. A marketing panel of local business leaders engaged the audience with some very good dialog as to what they were doing during these times. Of all the topics discussed, some need to be emphasized.It is important to maintain a positive work environment. Retaining your best employees is a great place to start. If you could find one positive about doing business in this type of economic environment, is that staffing becomes much easier. Having the best staff will ensure you have the best customer service you can provide. Then, staying in touch with those customers helps to attract repeat business. Make sure your staff is selling, rather than just manning the shop. Marketing is an absolute necessity. It should be looked at as a revenue generator, not just an expense. Businesses that deal with an inventory need less product during downturns. High-end products move slower than low-end, and looking for better pricing helps reduce inventory. Sales were held in December at some businesses that traditionally dont have sales during the busiest part of the season. But this approach got rid of some of the higher-priced inventory before the known slow times came around. Businesses are looking for ways to make it easier for people to spend their money with them. Changing business hours, shipping items for free or offering a warranty on your goods and services is a great way to accommodate the guests.Make the best use of your downtime because it is inevitable that a good economy will eventually return. Use this time to organize your business. Prune the tangents that arent part of your core business. Spend energy and resources on strengthening the core products and services that contribute the most to the bottom line. Improve your systems by looking for ways to be more efficient. Look for opportunities, whether its a new location or acquiring the business of your competitor. Doing things while times are slow can greatly influence the results your business has when times get better. Dont panic. Panic can lead to making short-term decisions that are based on short-term results. Prepare both short- and long-term projections and make decisions that maximize your income based on those projections. In other news, the Vail Chamber & Business Association will not be holding monthly meetings in April or May. The next will be in June at a location and time to be announced. Because the meetings are open to the public, we invite both members and non-members of the chamber to take advantage of the information given at these meetings. Paul Wible is the Executive Vice President of FirstBank of Vail and is a member of the Vail Chamber & Business Association Board of Directors.