W&WP February 2002
Since September 11, has your company been hanging in, hanging on or hanging it up?
Have your associates and you taken unexpected steps or an unexpected detour to get things back on track or has it been business as usual?
These are the types of questions we recently posed to executives of companies featured in the 12th Annual WOOD 100 Report, published last September.
Sandwiched between our final editing of last fall's WOOD 100 presentation and dropping the issue into the mail were the gut-wrenching terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The attacks created shock waves that rocked an already shaky economy.
By the time the September 2001 issue reached our readers, the business climate had begun to change in unimaginable ways. Thus, we decided to conduct a follow-up survey of these same 100 companies to gauge the immediate impact of the attacks on their businesses and to determine if and how their outlooks for 2002 had changed. In doing so, we also sought to learn how these diversely successful companies, in terms of size, location and product mix, were responding to the crisis.
Before & After
Nearly half of the WOOD 100 executives said their business activity stayed about the same. More surprising were the eight respondents (15%) who said their business activity increased after the attacks.
If there is a silver lining to the follow-up study, it is that only four of the 55 respondents to the follow-up survey project 2002 will be a "Poor" or "Terrible" year for their businesses. What's more, 18% of them are expecting 2002 to be their "Best Ever."
What They Are Doing
More instructional is variety of aggressive marketing strategies implemented by 12 of the WOOD 100 companies. They said they were not only beating the bushes harder but were also trying to beat more of them to keep their businesses moving forward. Tactics along these lines ranged from doing more aggressive display advertising and direct mail campaigns to stepping up the number of sales calls and hiring additional sales staff.
Among the more interesting elements of Assistant Editor Bernadette Freund's report is a pair of sidebars. The first involves interviews with three WOOD 100 companies who not only saw their business decrease immediately after 9-11, but have downgraded their prospects for business in 2002 from "Good" to "Poor" or "Terrible." Meanwhile, three WOOD 100 company executives interviewed for the second sidebar said not only did their business activity increase in the wake of the attacks, but that they had upgraded their forecast for 2002 from "Good" to "Best Ever."
United We Stand
Asked what specific action the federal government could take to improve business conditions, most indicated some form of tax cuts or investment tax credits. Other responses included the enactment of taxes on raw wood materials exported to foreign countries and adjusting the U.S./Canadian exchange rate.
We appreciate the tremendous help of all those who participated in our WOOD 100 surveys and hope to see a similar spirit of cooperation in our future research.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.