The purpose of studying history is to learn from the lessons of the past to make sure we never make the same mistakes again.
The disturbing part of this brutal economy is that the mistakes leading into it were made not that long ago and, in many ways, are still being made with unions howling for more and executives still expecting big bonuses, even if the companies they represent are teetering.
With all of that going on in tough times, what will happen when things finally start to get better? Realistically, that won’t happen at least until next year, but the recession could carry on into 2011. That’s not a prediction because forecasting even by so-called economic experts is a fool’s pastime.
As mentioned in previous blogs, the good news is that the economy seems to be stabilizing somewhat, which only means, if that’s true, that we’ve bottomed out.
How long we roll along at these depths before climbing out is anybody’s guess, but the difficulty associated with this chapter of our lives is something we’d rather forget, but should always remember in order to avoid history repeating itself.
The good news is that the banking community has recognized the need for change in order to avoid the credit crunch in the United States that touched this whole thing off. Whether it actually does something about it and enforces any new measures remains to be seen in the future.
Of course, that new attitude towards lending is affecting golf, where major players such as Textron Financial are exiting the game. The credit crisis will slow the proliferation of golf courses that we’ve seen in many saturated market, but it will also affect golf courses where financing will soon mature.
On the other hand, fuel prices, at least at this point, look to be running at considerably less than they did last summer, but many still believe that fuel is still overpriced and that corporations will jack it up the first chance they get.
That brings us back to learning from the past.
Assuming you made efforts to conserve on fuel when it was hovering around $1.50 per litre last year, are you still planning to keep those measures in place this year or are you comfortable that the worst is over and it’s business as usual?
It’s quite likely that the recession will lead golf course operators to continue conserving on fuel this year, which will be a prudent move, not only short-term, but long term as well if the price of fuel begins to skyrocket again.
Labour costs may be another aspect of your business that you’re looking at in this economic downturn, but will the list of essential employees that you draw up now be expanded once times get better and the pressures aren’t as great?
Assuming you’re not spreading your employees out too thin and working them beyond reason, are the reductions in staff viable in good times as well? Hopefully, you’re planning on rewarding the staff members who are left if they are going above and beyond to make it work for you.
It’s tempting in tough times to cut back on the marketing budget, but chopping at that only means backing off in trying to lure golfers to your facility.
If you have to cut back in lean times, are you paying attention to which advertising vehicle works best or are you just going with what you’ve done in the past? Asking a sales rep from any media outlet for numbers that back up the sales pitch is good business in good or bad times.
There are some tough decisions ahead as we deal with the current economy, but what we learn from those decisions may be applicable when times get better. It’s one thing to make your operation lean and mean in this recession, but will it be prudent to stay that way in the good times?
That’s a point worth considering as you make these calls. Not only is it learning from the past, it’s also learning from the present.
DYMO DAYS: Tomorrow (Saturday) will be Dymo Day in Canada as Nike Golf Canada rolls out its new SQ Dymo Str8-Fit driver in a day-long promotion across the country.
Participating stores include Golf Town and Nevada Bob’s, independent retailers and green grass shops, all featuring special displays and in-store promotional materials. Nike staff will also be on hand to answer questions about the Str8-Fit.
As well, golfers who attend a Dymo Day and log into www.nikegolf.ca will have a chance to win a private lesson with Stephen Ames, Anthony Kim, Sean Foley and Dr. Craig Davies at the 2009 RBC Canadian Open.
Golfers will also have the chance to win Nike golf equipment and footwear and tournament tickets, among other prizes.