As we near the end of the first quarter of 2017, I am still hearing mostly optimistic thoughts from people in the woodworking industry who I encounter daily. But I worry that too many take a passive approach to business, resigned to the ups and downs of an economy for which they have little control. That may be, but it still takes more than optimism to be successful.

In the Great Recession, too many woodworkers learned that relying on old processes, conventional equipment, and only word-of-mouth marketing were just not enough. No amount of optimism could wrestle them out of the downturn. Many had to close their doors. But the smart ones took a different approach and survived, maybe even thrived.

Good times or bad, leaders proactively chart the path of their business. They look ahead for trends to anticipate ups and downs. They explore new technology and adopt what will move them forward. They diversify product lines so not all the eggs are in one basket. And they devote significant energy to marketing, so that the pipeline of new business continues to flow.

Leaders are likely optimistic, but it is a pragmatic optimism, kind of like the old saying of hope for the best but plan for the worst. Leaders are constantly on the lookout for new information that could help make that optimism into real positive progress. They are also always on the lookout for early warnings of bumps in the road ahead so they can make calm course corrections to find the smoothest path.

Through the pages of FDMC, online at Woodworking Network, and face to face at events like the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo, we want to be a significant asset to industry leaders in turning their optimism into positive reality. We want to provide the information and connections you need to make the most of your business, no matter what happens in the economy. We want to help put you in real control of your business destiny so that you can truly steer your business to success rather than just go along for the ride.

To better do that, we need your help. Tell us what questions you have, so we can help find answers. Let us know where you are a little uncertain, so we can search hard to fill in the blanks. We are dedicated to being partners in positive progress. Let’s move forward together!

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.