Thursday, October 28, 2010
The shrinking pot
2010 has been an interesting year , at least for me. During this economic slowdown my business has not slowed down-it actually set records in terms of incoming orders in 2008 and 2009 and looked to be doing the same in 2010 until about mid August. Suddenly, the phone stopped ringing.....normally I would welcome some hours where I could just weld and not have to jump up and go to the phone every 10 minutes. Now , a typical day will be largely devoid of the phone ringing and I can merrliy weld away on the now rapidly shrinking list of orders. Last year at this time I had about three times the orders on the list as I do now in the fall of 2010. Is this the economic slowdown finally catching up with me , or did I do something to piss off the frame buying public at large ?
This is the dilemma of the self-employed small framebuilder: What ca we attribute a sudden silence of the phone to ? Economic trends ? More competition from newer builders ? Maybe our style has become outmoded as we have not evolved with the ever changing trends in bike building ? It is stuff like this that keeps people like me awake at night .......what did I do to cause this and what, if anything can I do to turn things around ?
Maybe , there's a reason I'm not really taking into account-perhaps what has caused this lull in new business is something I didn't cause and maybe it is something I can't do anything about. I know well that what I do is largely a luxury and not something of an impulse purchase.....people plan ahead to get a custom frame, way ahead in most cases. Sooo, if the slowdown in my business isn't caused by me and cannot be changed by me , what the heck do I do ? Maybe I should shut the hell up and do my job, at least while I have it. As I have said before , I'm very lucky to have work in this fickle field and the run of the last 7-odd years has been exceptional. All over the world people are looking at situations much more grave than what I am faced with-it's time for me to take whatever resources I have and do something for folks less fortunate than myself. If my business does not survive this slump I would rather go out on a note of having done some constructive and community-based work rather than having some sort of 'fire sale' or the like. Maybe a lull like this is a time when I can attend to projects long neglected........maybe all I need to do is to start restoring that old Colnago and as soon as I get about halfway though , the phone will start ringing again and all of my noble efforts will come to a grinding halt while I go back to earning a living.....or not !
Posted by swiggco world at 8:22 AM