The winds of change are blowing hard

By Jim Ristow, AVB BrandSource

“It is nearly impossible to predict how the winds of change will blow. You can complain about it, you can expect the wind at your back or you can move forward by adjusting your sails. Adjust your business strategy as needed lest you be blown off course.”

The world around us is changing at breakneck speed and it is seemingly harder to keep up with all that is new.

As we prepare for our annual Convention, it is time to think about looking ahead and planning for change instead of waiting for it to happen.

While it is an old cliché that change is inevitable, it could not truer than it is right now. The economy, the competition, the customers, the suppliers and their products are all changing fast. You need to be constantly changing as well.

Here is some good news: As independents, we have the unique ability to quickly refocus our businesses as the market and conditions on the ground dictate.

Be Nimble, Be Smart

I read recently in a YSN post that several of the big-box retailers were having difficulty managing inventory levels. Their size dictates that they are forced to order at massive scale, six to 12 months in advance of putting the items on the sales floor. Consequently, they now have way too much or way too little of what is actually selling. It’s pretty hard to be agile at massive scale.

The dinosaurs became extinct because they suffered from too much bulk and too little brain. Moral of the story: Be nimble, be smart. As business owners, we have had to constantly rethink the fundamentals of how we do things with the goal of surviving.

Winds of Change

It is nearly impossible to predict how the winds of change will blow. You can complain about it, you can expect the wind at your back or you can move forward by adjusting your sails. Adjust your business strategy as needed lest you be blown off course.   

Amid all the chaos it is important to remember to keep focused on your customers, knowing who they are and how they are shopping. Virtually all your customers are pursuing their next purchase online, not sitting around passively waiting to be pitched.

Don’t Slow Down

Keep investing in your marketing, regardless of whether your business is slowing down or busting at the seams. You need to stay in front of all your potential customers regardless of how business is faring from week to week.

And here is some more good news: BrandSource members who have adopted an aggressive marketing strategy are doing remarkably well. They are outperforming the industry and will continue to do so.

Finally, take a deep breath. Rest assured we at AVB BrandSource are making strategic changes to accommodate the vicissitudes of the marketplace and are continuously planning for whichever way the wind blows.

Looking forward to seeing you in the Big D!

Jim Ristow is CEO of AVB BrandSource, the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, home furnishings and consumer electronics dealers and publisher of YourSource News.