The year Twenty Eleven sounds so impossible for many people, yet here we are. In business a lot of us would be glad to get 2007 back. But while we are in what many thought of as the future, is it so different?
Here’s a look at what we think 2011 could shape up to be…
First of all, there is a huge difference in reported sales of large retailers and your neighborhood’s cupcake shop. While businesses like Target may not see big changes, we think the smaller entrepreneurial businesses will do better, especially in the food-related sector, with gift, jewelry and apparel running right behind. But this depends on the savvy of the storekeepers to deliver products which excite their customers to buy.
That said, retailing and consumer business at large is on a cycle and we are on our way back to 2007 levels. Maybe 2011 will get us there? When we’re climbing out of a hole, each step is higher and harder than the last and sometimes we slip. But in the economy overall, we are looking a little better, though it’s still a slow climb. Nashville Wraps is forecasting +8% and hoping for +10% in general product lines.
For the short term, employment may see very slight improvements, but there is no real reason to think that employment will improve dramatically. Businesses are seeing improved revenues and there comes a point when jobs have to be created. As the economy continues to slowly improve, so will employment. But employers will need to provide incentives to expand their businesses in the US to really make dramatic changes.
There is still a large inventory of vacant homes, store fronts and warehouses. We were overbuilt and under-capitalized in 2007/08 when all the bubbles burst. So the construction industry will see a slow recovery, but still there are signs of an improving sector as builders meet the needs of aging Baby-Boomers and new families are selling homes and condos.
The new car season at the end of 2010 seemed to be brisk even as dealers scrambled to get their hands on saleable inventory, but it took incentives from the manufacturers. During the last several years consumers have held on to their vehicles, but now they are getting concerned because of age and maintenance costs. The situation is similar with computers, electronics and other personal and business equipment.
The Bottom Line:
We think that profits for many companies, both small and large, will show improvement. Those who have survived the last 3 years have done so by making their business more agile and efficient by lowering costs and improving operational productivity. No longer can businesses tolerate employees who are not with the program or processes/policies that aren’t contributing to good relationships with customers. With an uptick in sales revenues for 2011, net profits should likewise improve.
The real answer is nobody knows, but I’ll take a stab at an 8% to 10% overall increase and plan towards the 8%. As you all know, customers demand top service, quality products, quick delivery and style. It’s what we do at Nashville Wraps, and it’s a proven formula we are going to bet the farm on.