Canadian Vending

News
From the editor: July/August 2009

Knowing The Numbers


July 24, 2009
By Cam Wood

This month’s cover screams “Strength in Numbers” at us, a metaphorical suggestion for what lies within, along with a direct connection to a story about a blossoming co-operative association in Quebec.

This month’s cover screams “Strength in Numbers” at us, a metaphorical suggestion for what lies within, along with a direct connection to a story about a blossoming co-operative association in Quebec.

Over the past few weeks, we have seen a wide variety of numerical arguments for why there remains a strong pulse to our industry. Significant investments in manufacturing, renewed contracts in major cities, a positive vibe following the annual CAMA conference … lots to be aware of and enthusiastic about.

Now that we are seeing a decrease in the panic and “pandelerium” over the fiscal environment, the question that remains is: Are you ready for recovery?

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Economics, as many of us well know, are cyclical. And even though “recovery” may be still a long way off in true business numbers, there is a significant need for vending professionals to be prepared.

A good friend in the foodservice business told me that, what this recession will do is force the strong to survive, and clear out those who have not prepared themselves adequately. Perhaps a harsh stance … but in a business model with a three per cent profit margin, he is entitled to be bitter and determined.

But he also admits he is becoming much more of a guerilla marketer – finding innovative methods to build his brand and raise awareness. He’s not focusing strictly on getting people to buy his products, as much as he is first trying to get them to know what he has to offer.

In a way, it’s the old “build it and they will come” concept made popular by Field of Dreams.

However, top of mind may be the advantage when the recovery happens, simply because of that increased awareness and branding.

Being ready for the recovery means taking full advantage of the opportunity to grow and become more efficient in a smarter sense. It means finding growth through systems and operations, as in fixing the losses within your business model by being better business professionals. It means finding efficiencies in route planning and purchasing.

It means driving sales in new and unique ways.

And for some, that might even mean finding new and unique ways to drive the business.

Potential customers can be found in a variety of ways, surely by now we have accepted that we are retailers and must attract customers and not just refill machines.

Businesses that have gone through their own re-evaluation process have turned to where the numbers are strong, when it comes to marketing – social networking sites.

As a media type, I’m supposed to believe these new Internet-based networking things are the be all and end all of model branding. I remain cynical of their journalistic value … but there’s a very influential man south of the border living in a new White House thanks to the power of social networking.

Examples abound, evidence is surfacing, but no matter how you look at it – this month Canadian Vending has the strength in numbers from business ideas to our annual Buyers Guide contained within.

It’s up to you to decide if you are ready for recovery.


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