FlagandBanner has had the best year. Our sales are up, our stress is down and our bills are all paid. Man it feels good.
And then it happens. Just when you think you’re sittin’ pretty, Boom–everything changes. Thank goodness I am an eternal optimist. I like what one of my employees, Jason, just said, “Think Big.” And why not? But right now my big thoughts are about Big Losses.
This November’s sales are slower than I have seen them all year. And you’d think it is because of all the fears of recession we keep hearing. But, historically, the economic trends of the country haven’t applied to the flag business. In fact, sometimes they even go in the opposite direction. When people are feeling poorly, they rally around the Flag and the Cross because, emotionally, they can believe in State and Church to see them through. And when other businesses see a slump in sales, they tend to advertise more. And given that Banners are a relatively inexpensive way to advertise, we sell more banners. Maybe I need to buy a banner.
So what gives? I have revved up our advertising and still nothing. I don’t know the answer. What I do know is that come this Friday, if things don’t change, I am going to have to scrub up and get my hands dirty. After 33 years as chief surgeon at Arkansas Flag and Banner, I have learned that you have to stop the bleeding if you want to save the patient, and the faster you do it the better. Dang it. We still have ’til Friday. Maybe we’ll have a great day today(that is my eternal optimist speaking).Flag and Banner
Everybody has to answer to somebody and usually it is their spouse, boss and mother. But I answer to spouse, boss, mother, kids and employees. And employees are like marriages: some are good, some bad, and all have to be dealt with on a daily basis. Some old employees keep coming back. Some I’m glad to see again and some I would like to forget.
Through the years I have gotten a lot faster at hiring and firing employees. I used to try to fix everyone. But now I have become calloused. After several exhaustive attempts to help someone, I say, “That’s it!” and stop. Maybe I have lost my idealism or faith in the human race. Perhaps I just don’t have enough energy for the crazy ones. No, I just finally accept the fact that you can’t help someone who is unwilling to help themself. There are too many good people/employees that need attention to waste it on the ones who aren’t serious.
This year, my primary account manager,”Captain Kirk” Wygal, gave me a book on management and it was an eye opener. It said 80% of your management time was spent on your bad employees and only 20% went to your Stars. Every time I fire a bad employee or discipline one of my kids, they say “That’s Not Fair.” And they are right. It’s not fair… to those who deserve more of my time.Flag and Banner