It’s a New Time in Our Industry
What Can We Learn From 2020?
There were many terrible things about 2020 that none of us will ever forget. Hopefully, as vaccines become available, we can return to some form of normalcy in 2021. One positive in 2020 was the resurgence of the custom framing industry after many years of decline.
Many shops saw a huge increase in business as the nation stayed home and improved their living environments. Home improvement stores and custom services experienced unprecedented growth during the pandemic as customers concentrated on their living environments. What can we learn from such a traumatic year?
Custom Framing is Still Relevant
Custom Framing is still relevant to the public. Over the past 15 years, our industry declined dramatically and many shops closed. During this time, some speculated about the demand for custom products. The recent resurgence in business indicates that interest and demand are still alive. Future opportunities lie in our ability to consistently remind the public of the value we offer. Make sure that you are communicating with current and potential customers every month.
Business is Not Guaranteed
Business and life can change instantly. COVID taught us that major, sudden changes can occur at any time. We learned that our businesses can be shut down and income can dry up quickly. More than ever, it’s vital to have cash reserves that enable us to survive at least six months. Make sure that your pricing produces a positive cash flow and monitor your budget every month.
Business Should Be Maximized
The recent upsurge in business should be maximized. Businesses tend to develop a pace that matches demand. For years, the pace of the custom framing industry was slow. Now, as demand is increasing, we must find ways to meet that demand. Improving turnaround and producing more products is essential to sustaining industry growth. Make sure your staffing is adequate and well-trained.
Customer Service Can Adapt
Adapting new ways of servicing customers will minimize the effects of future issues. We learned that accommodating customers means giving them access to our services without always being physically in our shops. Virtual appointments, online ordering and other practices that allow busy customers to easily use our services will be important even after the pandemic. There are several new, innovative online tools like Zoom available that can help.
2021 is not 2020
2021 can be a banner year. The increase in demand gives the custom framing industry an opportunity to reboot. If we learn from this past year and respond properly to increased demand, our industry can regain much of what we lost. Are you ready for 2021?
Very good points, Ken. I think every shop should take a few minutes to write down 2020 takeaways, lessons learned, and areas for improvement. We did well with #2 because we have been in business since 1977 and had reserves. However, diligent applications for grant funds really helped. Never in my wildest dreams would I think we would suddenly be closed for several weeks. Weathering that storm was, and still is a challenge. I advise every small business to have a healthy bank line of credit, empty credit cards, and other sources for emergency cash when the surprisinggly impossible happens. It was, (and still is) a pandemic last year, but could be a fire, flood, or other natural disaster. To those that are still in business after this disaster, all I can say is, “Well done!”
So true Kristie, much to learn from what we have all gone though so that we are better prepared for sustaining business during future unexpected challenges.
Great points…thank you Ken. One I might add is ‘Take Care of Yourself’ in order to be able to lead your business & employees!
Agreed! Thank you.