We, as gift basket companies, are not the only ones struggling to survive in today’s recession. I’ve seen the size of newspapers and most of my trade magazines — from promotional products to website information to general business among others– diminish as vendors are finding it difficult to come up with the funds to advertise. I’ve even seen some of our vendors and gift basket companies disappear.
The financial publications, as well as the business news broadcasts, have been preaching gloom and doom for months with good reason. And during the holiday season, much of the retail community jumped onto the Wal-Mart Express, cutting prices to the bone as they tried to attract customers. They will most likely be doing the same, as well as offering free shipping, this coming season.
What do you do about all this? Fold up your business and go home? Of course not. There’s business out there to be had and many of us are finding it.
If your business is having problems, think of it as a long trek through a snowstorm. Everything is white around you and you feel all alone. It’s hard to see where you’ve been and it’s even harder to see, through the blinding snow, where you are headed. It’s time to go into SURVIVAL MODE.
Even though it may seem like it, you are not alone. There are others around you, going through the same storm. Some are moving ahead with little problems while others are barely making it. Some are stumbling with each step, ready to fall into the snow, and simply go to sleep.
But wait! You can survive! What you need right now is the Gift Company Doctor! There are several good Gift Company Doctors out there, and like the medical profession, there are also some quacks. The good ones are ready and willing to offer you advice, provide survival gear, and get you moving through the storm–stronger and better prepared to survive it.
Reputation and proven ability is about the only thing you have to go on when determining which Gift Company Doctors to put your trust in. This industry has been around long enough that there are a number of those who have contributed their time, their energy, and their money towards helping the weaker ones to stand. You’ll remember hearing these Gift Company Doctors speak at a Convention you’ve attended or reading their regular long-time contributions to the gift basket themed bulletin boards or articles in our trade magazines throughout the years.
I could name a lot of them for you but each of you have had your own experiences. Like any medical doctor, each Gift Company Doctor has his or her own bedside manner and degree of willingness to share. If you’ve been in the industry very long, you know of several. Just like choosing a medical doctor, you need to choose one that you feel comfortable with. If you’re fairly new to the business, and haven’t been participating in the Conventions, reading the trade magazines, or the active boards, I suggest that you ask someone who has.
Like most medical doctors, I don’t often advertise my own services. Most of you already know me as one of the available Gift Company Doctors. I’ve been consulting small businesses as a “Small Business Doctor” for a number of years–first as a counselor for SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and now as a business counselor for Coconino County Business Empowerment Program. If you need general business advice, these programs, along with the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) are excellent resources.
But if you have specific Gift or Gift Basket company concerns, using the suggestions that I mentioned earlier in this post, find a reliable Gift Company Doctor and take advantage of their help. I invite you to consider this blog as part of this Gift Company Doctor’s prescription for survival. If you haven’t gone back and read all the posts from the very beginning, you’ve missed some important prescriptions. If you have survival concerns or questions that you would like to see covered in a future post, just ask. And if you know of another company that could benefit from it, tell them about it.
I also invite you to join the many other companies in the industry–both big and small–who are taking advantage of another prescription for increasing traffic to their website businesses and that is GiftBasketNetwork.com. There are other directories that have been around for enough years to provide traffic as well. But GiftBasketNetwork is much more than a directory. It is an actual network of members helping other members. The sister websites GiftRetailersConnection.com and GiftRetailersConnection.ning.com provide a free community bulletin board (forum) where advice and information is shared as well as an excellent must-have magazine for the industry.
“But I can’t afford it,” you may say. And my answer is “Can you afford not to?” Some of the bigger companies, such as Wine Country among others, have decided that they needed the service. These companies are your competition. Can you afford NOT to receive the same kind of traffic that they value. You can choose a specialist or a general practitioner. The price is different. But so is the knowledge available and the benefits received.
The survival gear, that your Gift Company Doctor helps you choose, should fit well and have adequate protection from the storm. We don’t know how long this storm will last or how soon we will be able to see the path more clearly but the choices you make now for your business can make all the difference.
If you’re feeling weak and fear that you’re stumbling, it’s time to go into survival mode! And this Gift Basket Doctor, as well as many others who have been in the business long enough to survive multiple recessions, is here to help you on your way.