Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The lesson of nothing is constant.

Issuing in 2009 we celebrated a new president and loathed the bailouts to the banks and car companies. One positive and one negative should provide somewhat of a balance, right? The powers that be made economic corrections, the banking system was saved so that they could continue doing what they are in business to do, investing and loaning money, only now they would be more responsible, assess risk better and continue to work with the business community allowing us to get back on balance. Wrong. Balance was not in anyone’s vocabulary, and certainly nothing seemed fair to the millions losing their jobs in the first half of 2009 or to the thousands of small and micro businesses who were having their credit lines and credit limits slashed to practically nothing. Crescent Moon was one. I have to admit I was naïve about why Bank of America who was our business and personal bank, and we the loyal customer who had never had a late payment or much money on the business credit line, would have our credit limits slashed by 90%. The average consumer and worker does not realize that small businesses rely on capital, (usually in the way of credit lines) to fund inventory, make payroll, invest in improvements or expansion for growth. And as long as you are responsible and make your payments on time and pay it back the relationship continues. Uh Uh, not now…they changed the rules. There was no negotiating, the bank’s stock answer was that it was new policy to address the instability of the current economy and they no longer could afford the risk. It was across the board and across all industries. To many it was like cutting our legs off at the knees and asking us to run a marathon through the rest of the recession. I stayed naïve for most of 2009. In relation to how the banks would operate.

Crescent Moon was going to bootstrap it with lean operating strategy and self capital from savings if necessary. We were being responsible and we knew we could survive through 2009 with all things staying constant. But the retail industry continued to track downhill steadily as the months rolled on though. At times it was difficult not to take it personally. I started to question myself on whether we were stocking the right product mix, was our new social media attempts not making an impact; our networking fruitless and my fear of the economy began to overshadow my confidence to run a business. Customers would walk in the shop and make positive comments and walk out. Nothing was constant except for the concern. Mike and I kept talking it over though, we kept placing one foot in front of the other, moving forward each week making small corrections as we found necessary. We even patted each other on the back and celebrated with a business dinner now and then on how better informed we were becoming and how much smarter we were working. Recognizing what you are doing right is as important as addressing what you may be doing wrong!

Sometime around March 2009 I got an email in our inbox that would impact us immensely. Something was changing finally.