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Herb Niles on sales and marketing management

Fiscal cliffs and curbs

January 4, 2013
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Hopefully by the time you read this, we will have fallen, jumped or been pushed off the “fiscal cliff.” I’m at the point I really don’t care…just spare me hearing any more about it.

If the clowns in Washington didn’t have clichés and phrases like “fiscal cliff”, “kick the can down the road”, and “the will of the American people” I don’t think they would know what to say when they get behind a microphone. On the other hand, they can’t help themselves, so they would think of something.

According to many of the talking heads on television, the economy for 2013, if not the future of the entire western civilization, is riding on the outcome but personally I am not so sure.

Everyone rails on about the debt, so why is a program designed to reduce it so terrible? Indeed, both candidates in our recent election talked about some configuration of reduced spending and increased revenue to reduce the deficit. I guess, to use a cliché of my own, it just depends on “whose ox is being gored.”

Surviving, maybe thriving

So I think no matter what Washington decides, the nation and the economy will probably survive it and perhaps even thrive in ’13.

Smart business people figure out a way to manage their business profitably no matter the circumstances and in the scheme of things this “fiscal cliff” will be just another blip on the radar screen.

 For all the dire predictions, it seems the unknowns are frequently what impacts the safety business short-term (see Bird flu, Swine flu, BP oil spill, Hurricane Sandy, Housing bubble, etc).

As we closed out 2012 the unemployment rate was continuing to inch down to below 8%, with some areas stronger than others. I think technology has as much to do with it as anything else, we simply don’t need as many workers to do the same (or more) work. A recent example here on the west coast was the strike by the 800-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union Clerical unit, which kept thousands of workers off the docks and backed up shipments of goods from Asia into Los Angeles.

A major issue was not wages but the fear of jobs being lost to technology or outsourced. 

Safety market will build on gains

So as I look at my crystal ball, in 2013 the safety business should continue to build on the gains of the past three years with housing, construction, auto and energy leading the way.

As for me, the problem in 2012 was not a cliff but a curb as I tripped on one while walking our dog. Just as I survived that with the help of some good doctors and physical therapists, I am sure our country and economy will survive whatever stumbling blocks the folks in Washington throw at us.

So come what may, here’s wishing you a safe, healthy and prosperous new year!

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