Creative Growth Strategy: Downturn's UpsideWhile many companies see a slow period as a good time (and good excuse) to reel in marketing and R&D expenditures, we look at it as an opportunity. This is the time to step into the breach left by others and ramp up our efforts.

Our best growth has come during recessions, partly because we are aggressive and partly because others are not — we tend to stand out. The past few years we have expanded our trade show efforts, by adding new shows and by adding more exhibit space at our bigger ones. We have grown our website and made it more comprehensive and easier to use for ordering online. We have advertised more and in markets new and different to us.

We embrace recessionary times. It gives our small company a great opportunity to expand while others hunker down. As a pioneer in B2B direct marketing, it is easy to shift focus, to deploy assets where needed, and do it virtually overnight. We don’t have a huge sales force to maintain so our marketing channels can be shifted at whim, painlessly.

Continuously Creative
New products are the mother’s milk of our business. We are always developing new ones or creating line extensions of existing ones — 24/7/365. Currently we have more than 20 new products in the pipeline — from cutting-edge components to variations on basic ones.

Creative Growth Strategy: Downturn's UpsideOur annual design contest, now in its 26th year, also generates concepts that are often brilliant departures from the norm. It is our pleasure to bring them to fruition and to launch them to the world.

We keep developing, refining and pushing the envelope of furniture components. We are known forinnovation and will work diligently to continue this trend.

It does not stop there. We have purposely developed a loose company culture, one that runs on positive spirit and collaborative efforts. We encourage our employees to take chances. They know a departure from the norm is just that — and they can do it without fear.

New ideas, new thoughts are encouraged. If I had a door, it would always be open. Anyone can come to me at any time with an idea, a new process, a better way to run the business.

I am proud that few leave our employ which I take as a compliment. We offer a good work environment and outstanding benefits which are not generally afforded at large firms.

Community Service
I am especially proud of our company’s commitment to charitable services. When the 7.9 earthquake hit Port au Prince, Haiti almost two years ago we swung into action. We donated one of our vans and bought a 20-foot shipping container, filling it with construction and medical supplies for Haiti. We have since flown in medical supplies and staff to help the people.

Each employee also has a discretionary fund from the company to donate to the charity of their choice. Our company also supports the Revlon Walk for Women’s Cancers,, plus we support Martin Luther King Day as a day of service to others. While the office works with a skeleton staff, the rest of us are packing food for the homeless or perhaps assisting at a shelter — just giving of ourselves to help the less fortunate in our society.

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