As I write this we have just started a new year, and I for one am glad to say goodbye to 2013. It wasn’t a bad year, but it’s time for some new energy and new growth. I felt like most of 2013 was spent pinching ourselves to see if the bad dream of the recession really was over. Now it’s time to move on.

In our personal lives, we frequently use a new year to make resolutions to improve ourselves, often vowing to start new things like an exercise programs or diet. And too often the good intentions of those resolutions quickly fade away. But for your business, you need some resolutions and the resolve to follow up, capitalizing on the New Year’s energy and possibilities.

If the recession taught us anything, it was that technology has a solid place in woodworking. Shops that had already invested in CNC automation found they had versatility, efficiency, and production capacity to compete in even a down market. Their technology helped them to be agile and adapt to meet the changing market challenge. Now that the economy is smoothing out, that puts high-tech shops ahead of the curve.

Another lesson of the recession is that relying solely on “word of mouth” advertising is not likely to be adequate. Shops that waited for the business to come in the front door are still waiting. Those that went out to aggressively prospect for new business and new markets did well. On a related note, it seems that the shops that competed in the recession by “bottom feeding,” hoping that a lower price would return more business, often ran themselves into the ground. In contrast, shops that went looking up the food chain for higher-end work seemed to generally fare better.

What did you learn from the recession and how can you apply those lessons in the New Year? Do you have a solid marketing plan? Do you know where you stand with technology and taking full advantage of it in your shop? The year is already moving and there is no time to waste! Get moving!

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