Re-Framing the Recession for 2009: A Three Point Plan by Small Business Authority Jay Goltz

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Chicago entrepreneur and small business authority, Jay Goltz, shares his three point plan to help small businesses successfully navigate the 2009 recession.

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but it's really important to our customers.

Author, speaker and CEO of Chicago retail group, the Goltz Group, Jay Goltz releases his three point plan to help small businesses re-frame the recession heading into 2009. Mr. Goltz is steering his retail group (including Artists Frame Service, the country's largest picture framing business, and high-end home décor retailer, Jayson Home & Garden) through its fourth recession. He holds that small businesses who consider his three point plan for re-framing the recession stand a much better chance of success in the coming year.

A long time believer in the African proverb that smooth seas make a poor sailor, Jay Goltz explains how to navigate the current rough waters in three key areas: your customers, your product and your people. Mr. Goltz clearly knows of what he speaks: his businesses are leaders in their categories, enjoy much higher than average repeat and referral rates, and boast a retail employee retention rate three times the national average.

The Three Point Plan
1. Discretionary Means Different Things to Different People
"You may think picture framing is a discretionary expense," says Jay Goltz, "but it's really important to our customers." No matter what industry you are in there are consumers for whom your products are necessary. Jay continues, "Customers who put a high value on quality and service are not going to automatically trade down or stop buying when things get tight. I've learned if I do right by them, I do alright." Re-frame your thinking: Don't assume you are discretionary. Figure out to whom you are a necessity and stay in sync with them.

2. Sales Down? Up Your Options.
According to Jay, "If sales are down, you might be tempted to cut back on the number of alternatives you offer but now is the time to increase your options. Be creative about the product you offer. You're the expert; lead the way." Artists Frame Service is initiating a once-a-month Sunday Frame Outlet to accommodate customers clamoring for the re-opening of a beloved Frame Outlet. They also now offer low cost poster framing packages and a range of discontinued picture frame mouldings. Re-frame your thinking: The solution isn't necessarily to get leaner; sometimes it's just to get smarter.

3. Avoid the Service Cut Trap
The idea of cutting staff might seem prudent but consider the consequences. Customers still want service, and good people are hard to find and even harder to train. Jay points out, "Retail customer service is a vanishing commodity. If you actually still offer it, it's hugely valuable. If you can afford it, sometimes it's worth toughing it out with the staff you have. Artists Frame Service's framing consultants have been with the company an average of nine years. You can't replace that when the good times return." Re-frame your thinking: Your payroll may be more of asset than a liability. Be careful when "trimming the fat"; it could be bone.

While no recession is easy to navigate, the question is what shape your ship will be in after the storm. Jay Goltz' three point plan for re-framing the recession will not only help you survive the storm, it will ensure you maintain the integrity of your ship well into 2009 and beyond.

About Jay Goltz
Chicago businessman Jay Goltz writes a column for Fortune Small Business and blogs for Inc. Magazine. He is a much sought after speaker since writing "The Street Smart Entrepreneur". He regularly gives speeches to small business groups and Fortune 500 companies.

Jay Goltz has been featured in national publications such as Inc. Magazine, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Small Business, Crain's Chicago Business and the Chicago Tribune. His company, the Goltz Group, is one of only 14 companies featured in "Small Giants" a best selling book about companies that choose to be great instead of big.

As a successful businessman and entrepreneur, Jay Goltz is on the front lines of business every day. He is well known for his memorable Blood and Goltz approach to writing, speaking and advising.

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