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The Benefits of a Poor Economy

The Benefits of a Poor Economy

Who said the recession is over? Has the consumer finished cocooning? Are they all done with Stay-cations? I think not, but someone is going to have to inspire them to have one at home in their own backyard. Are we going to leave that up to Frontgate and Pottery Barn?

This economic near-depression is probably going to last a long time as long as our government has anything to do with it, and it does. This is reflected in a broad range of change in consumer and business spending habits ranging from SLD (spending lock down) to basic simplification frugality. Those who continue to earn and spend are paying down debt, saving aggressively, and have adopted a consciousness NOT to flaunt luxuries in front of their friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers and employees. That’s pretty much everyone isn’t it? Continue reading

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The Price of a Bad Economy – How Much Will THIS Cost?

The Price of a Bad Economy – How Much Will THIS Cost?

Rodney Johnson, President of HS Dent

Rodney Johnson

This post has been incubating for a while and I decided to scrap what I had started in favor of pointing you to what Rodney Johnson with HS Dent has to say. Harry Dent and his organization have been accurate about our economy since the 80’s. That’s because they use what they call The Dent Method to make projections, not predictions. Click on Rodney’s picture to hear what he has to say about potato chips.

Dent’s basis for making projections is the birth rate and resulting demographics that can be projected in real numbers rather than subjective arbitrary opinion. No, they’re not 100% accurate on everything about the economy, mainly because they don’t make predictions about the economy. They only make projections of the impact of the birth rate and immigration on the economy. The fact is that a lot of what happens in the financial world is caused by people changing direction, sometimes irrationally, and that cannot be predicted accurately. But birth rate and resulting demographics can be projected so that is what they do – project. Continue reading

What’s Wrong with this Message?

Enough about the economy stupid.

Yes, we need to be empathetic to the consumer’s need to save, but the problem is amplified and exacerbated when everyone who is marketing has the same basic message across all communication channels. A basic tenet of marketing – differentiation, is lost.

Shouldn’t your brand be all about helping consumers escape the everyday issues of life? Keep in mind that when your advertising messages remind your own brand constituents of the harsh realities of living today, and that they should save money every time they buy you are NOT making them feel like they need to have what you’ve got. Continue reading

How to participate in the recession . . .

How much are plants worth this spring?

How do the rules of doing business during recession apply to you?

While it could be good advice to follow a growing trend of people who have decided not to participate in this recession, even better advice may be to participate fully in the effects the economic downturn is causing.

Should you make sure you get your share of any government stimulus money opportunities? Or, should you pay more attention to the way you run your business and get everything lined up to increase sales and margin dollars this year?

The news on early spring gardening interest is much better than anyone anticipated six months ago, or even three months ago.  I hope you are not getting tired of hearing about it in all the garden center industry news yet! The question is, are you ready to make everything you can of it, without hanging your backside out so far you cannot recover if it falls short.

Continue reading

People Gather Everywhere

This is the season of gathering – and spending money while doing it. In Grand Rapids, the recession of Michigan looms in the air. If it isn’t sold here on 28th Street you don’t need it, and probably don’t want it. Every restaurant and retail store you can think of reside here. I had dinner in the crowded Panera last night, and came back this morning to finish up some Internet tasks, make phone calls, and as it turns out to people watch. There has been a constant and steady stream of people in line to order for three hours. Tables fill with a few of my type – solo wireless users, but we were far outnumbered by friends and business people meeting up to talk, work, study, and even pray together. One threesome discusses the impact of the economy on their company and clients. I feared the apparently out-of-town boss swooped in to lay off the two salespeople he was meeting with. Thank God I didn’t have to witness a public mass-firing. He didn’t do that but he did set the stage for a long period of hard work ahead. Still, the conversation wasn’t appropriate in a public setting. Two ladies talked about the shopping bargains everywhere. They’re stocking up for household needs, upcoming birthdays and other anticipated purchases to take advantage of all the bargains. They wondered aloud, “who in their right mind would buy anything they need at full price when there are so many bargains to be found?” I have no answer. Another pair discussed a January trip to the indoor waterpark, rather than the usual tropical winter vacation. Only a three hour drive to adventure, and they can take all the kids and grandkids. The conversations all seem to center on talk of the economy rather than the weather as a recent winter storm with “flash-freeze” and overnight snowfall have not once been mentioned. Panera makes a lot of money when people want to get together and talk. It’s going to be a long winter. I think it all means we’re going to see a lot of people in the garden centers in spring.

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The Shape of Things That Came – The Well Curve

Inverted Bell Curve - The Well Curve

Inverted Bell Curve - The Well Curve

You know of the Bell Curve, but have you heard what happens to it during times of turmoil and market disruption?  It’s called the Well Curve and it’s been developing. See if the well curve doesn’t apply based on a lot of what we’ve you’ve been reading about business trends, and the economy. 

With the Well Curve growth increases occur at the two ends, while the middle deteriorates. The middle class has been under attack with stagnant income growth, mid-level job outsourcing, middle-class home foreclosures, and growing social unrest. 

 The bell curve implies that the majority, the middle segment, is somewhat satisfied. But the well curve means that this is inverted completely for the majority. The middle class deteriorates under attack from offshore outsourcing of mid-level jobs, stagflation, and other economic pressures eventually to bring social unrest, and a lot of middle-class dissatisfaction.

Click here to see if what Jim Pinto said would happen did in Retail, with the Drooping Middle Class, and with Purchasing Patterns – Even with cell phone and TV screens .

Click here to see the 2003 Wired Magazine article on the Well Curve.

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