If you’ve been mesmerized by the steady drumbeat of billion-dollar write-offs from the world’s largest banks, home foreclosures, and dizzying drops in stock prices, it would be easy to conclude that the economy is falling apart.
It also doesn’t help anyone’s confidence in the economy that Congress and the President are eager to send checks to millions of Americans to get them to spend money.
However, the reality is that outside of the financial services and housing-related sectors, corporate earnings are looking pretty decent. If you turn to page 32 of this Fact Book, you will see that industries including consulting services, elderly and disabled, gambling, home health care, and education support services rank in the top five growth industries with staggering year-over-year percentages.
CFO Magazine recently published the Top 5 Biggest worries for companies that included:
1) consumer demand
2) cost of labor
3) credit markets/interest rates
4) cost of fuel
5) cost of health care.
With the cost of labor ranking second on the list of concerns in the U.S., the days of a 100% full-time work force are over. Part time is here and will continue to grow as the preferred environment for the next wave of job seekers. The good news is that it will positively affect salary and benefits, which combined, are a significant issue.
Not only does the annual LCT Fact Book serve as the industry’s “crystal ball,” this book will help take the guesswork out of planning for your coming business year. A footnote here: Don’t think you can make money without mapping out a game plan on paper. It doesn’t work that way. If you want to be profitable, especially in a tight market, you need to be strategic. Chase the money and avoid dying industries.
Pay attention to compensation averages as shown on page 36. If you’re a small fleet operation and make less than a 20% net profit, something is wrong. If you’re a mid-sized business, you should be striving for a 12%-15% return. And if you are a large fleet operator and not making at least an 8% margin, you’d better redirect your sales force and show them where the growth markets are so they can show YOU the money.
I noticed that in reviewing our statistics, most respondents are leaning heavily on the Internet to promote their businesses (see page 42), but advertising is most effective if you stand out. So I suggest you zig while they zag — that means try your hand at a personal business letter versus an email!
As always, LCT is ready to help you. I truly believe that there is PLENTY of money to be made for you. Chase it. Refer back to my May Publisher’s Page regarding eco-commuting for yet another means of increasing your fair share. Talk to us and tell us what works and what doesn’t, so we can pass that information along to others. Good luck for more prosperous third and fourth quarters.