Don’t buy low and sell high

Sunday, November 30, 2008

In November, I attended the fall meeting of the New England Medical Equipment Dealers (NEMED), and speaker Jim Greatorex got me thinking. Here’s what he said: “Our industry is fairly recession proof. People are going to take care of their health. If you have a sound business plan, I think this is an opportunity rather than a time to be paralyzed by fear.”
Greatorex has a point. Stock market gurus tell you to buy low and sell high. But all too often we hear about people who do just the opposite. The stock market drops; they panic and sell; and then they don’t get back in until there’s been a healthy rebound. This is, of course, a strategy for failure.

If an HME provider takes a similar approach, the market will pass him by. The industry is evolving; it is not going away. Providers have to figure out how to evolve with it. The best providers these days are doing just that. They are working the problem and looking for solutions.

At NEMED’s fall meeting, Greatorex outlined how he and his partner grew their retail business to $1 million between 1995 and 2004. He also passed out “5 Ways To Thrive During Tough Times” by Jon Gordon, a motivational writer and speaker. Sometimes this motivational stuff can be a little corny, but I think Gordon has some good advice for HME providers. For example:

- Refuse to participate in the recession: Companies that thrived during past recessions continued to go about business as usual regardless of market conditions. They stayed positive, worked hard and focused on taking actions to grow their business.

- Increase marketing and advertising: It may seem counterintuitive to spend more money on advertising and marketing, but with so many people and organizations cutting back, this is a great opportunity to build your brand, expand your presence and gain market share. This is a great time to win new customers and stand out.

- Innovate: When times are tough, people are more open to new ideas, new products and new ways of doing things.

- Become a talent magnet: There is no better time to find, attract and hire the best talent. Focus on strengthening your business now, and you’ll be in a great position to capitalize when the market rebounds.

- Think big, take action: With more people living in fear and fewer people taking initiative, the rewards and recognition will be greater for those willing to dedicate themselves to building a great business and service.