We are very fortunate here at Rose City Label that our business seems to be back on track. We still have challenges, as we always will, but if our business could continue to prosper like it has the past 24 months, we would be very happy.
This improved business climate caused me to reflect and remember when, not too long ago, things weren’t very good.
Like many businesses, ours was caught flat footed when the bottom fell out in 2008. We were not prepared for the dramatic slowdown, and we had to take some serious measures to correct things quickly. We said goodbye to an employee that wasn’t performing, and we cut back hours in our production facility. These were difficult, nerve racking times for all of us. One of the things I remember most is that I never appreciated when things were good! I just assumed things would always be good. Now I know this isn’t always the case.
So, with these past 4 years behind us, what have we learned:
- 1. Celebrate Success! We aren’t setting records or hitting a home run on every single order, but we have much to be thankful for. I am trying to remind all the people in our company, and trying to remind myself, that things are good. We all need to take time to recognize this and give ourselves a small pat on the back for hanging in there.
- 2. Don’t Take the Future for Granted. Now I know that things can turn sour – in a hurry. I know that we can’t afford to get lazy, complacent, or arrogant. We always need to push forward and keep getting better every day. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Continuous improvement and staying hungry are the only things that will help us stay strong.
- 3. Protect the Downside. If, God forbid, we do have another major dip in the economy or world events, or if we have a serious problem in our own company, we need to protect the downside. As a leader I waited too long to make the hard decisions last time. I assumed all would be good – I didn’t know how long the downturn would last, or how deep it would be. Thankfully, we are a conservative, financially secure company, so we could withstand the storm, but I don’t want to get that close to the edge again. More proactive management would have helped ease the pain, and I am going to keep that in mind for the future.
Hopefully these three ideas can help our customers as we move forward. They are all important, but especially now, I am focusing on #1 – Celebrate Success!
Thanks to all of you for being a part of that success for Rose City Label.