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Bill Boyajian: Is 2023 the Year to Exit? |  January 05, 2023 (0 comments)


Carlsbad, CA--In short, I hope not. But if you are at or near retirement, it may be time.

Every jeweler benefitted from the last two and a half years of business. It was an unprecedented period for jewelry sales. Yet it is common to worry about an impending recession, which has been predicted for some time. Stimulus spending has propelled inflation and the combination of the Russian/Ukranian war and supply chain challenges around the world have added to the problem.

But that doesn’t spell doom and gloom for all jewelers. A recession would likely impact a small minority who really do need to go out of business. Yet those jewelers who are well-placed in their community, have a viable succession plan, and know how to manage their stores efficiently will be able to weather most any storm.

I’ve long been a strong proponent of well-managed independent jewelry stores. Most of their success is the result of hard work, a good merchandising mix, effective marketing, and exceptional service. A further benefit these jewelers will enjoy is the inevitable exit of one or more jewelers in their town or specific region. It is axiomatic that those without a plan to transition their business will close it down, often with a retirement or going out of business sale.

So, what does this mean for the vast majority of stores that remain? It’s true that the “Great Resignation” due to worker mobility is a problem for recruiting and retaining staff.  Boomers who are retiring out of the workforce adds to this dilemma. But smart owners know how to create employee loyalty as much as they do customer loyalty. Your greatest asset is your most valuable employees.  It pays to pay well and, as importantly, to treat your staff with dignity and respect. People don’t leave businesses.  They leave bad bosses.

Some owners will look back at recessions they’ve endured, the dot-com crisis, 9/11, devastating hurricanes, and the Great Recession by saying that enough is enough. So, it is likely that we’ll see more store owners exit the business than in the last year or two. But other jewelers will look back with pride at what they have been through and know they can deal with most any challenge that comes their way. If you if you have planned well, are willing to work hard, and share a long-term positive view of your business and the industry, you’ll do fine. Let the others exit. 

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