|Get ready for a lickin'|
When it comes to business, I like to think of the annual fight for profitability as a ten round boxing match. The opening bell rings in the early morning hours of January 2. I’ve learned, as a mature fighter learns, never to come out flailing wildly in the first round. I’ve never won by a technical knockout in January, but by the accumulation of points throughout the ten rounds of the year. The first round is for the implementation of my business plan, and the assessment of prevailing economic conditions. I dance around the ring, looking for opportunity.
Presidents Week gives us a chance to go back to our corners, and have our shoulders massaged. But the second round of the fight is usually for minor adjustments only. In the northeast, winter weather is a big factor. Advertising is a puny weapon against two feet of snow. When I can’t bring customers in through the door, I do the things necessary to bring them in at a later date.
Round three has a variable start date – somewhere between mid March and the beginning of April, when there is a noticeable thaw in the weather. As the weather warms, there is always a corresponding increase in phone calls. As buds begin to appear on the trees, customers begin to come out of hibernation. Now is the time to charge into the ring and take command of the fight.
Just as we are getting into a groove, G-d demands our attention with the holidays of Passover and Easter. Round 4 begins after spring vacation. I am in my corner by 7:00 a.m., loosening up, anxious to get back into the ring, and reestablish my rhythm. This is the time of year when prospects seem most receptive. I’ve had four months to get a feel of the market, and figure out what’s working and what is not. I go with what’s working.
Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, marks the beginning of Round 5. Round 5 is an important round. The snow is now a distant memory, and the torpor of summer has not yet set in. This is the time to move in on my opponent and hurt him.
Independence Day, Round 6: Thank G-d we are not in
, where people take off all summer. What’s with those Europeans, anyway? Remember when the nations of France Europe ruled the world? What happened to all that ambition? Patience is necessary during the summer months. Some people are on vacation. Where everybody else is, I don’t know.
Labor Day, Round 7: Labor Day is one of my favorite holidays. Man, do I love that Tuesday after Labor Day. People are ready to do business again in the fall. It is merely my job to identify and attract them. I jab with my right, hook with my left, hammer away at the body, uppercut to the chin.
The Jewish New Year, Round 8: No sooner have we got our rhythm back, here comes G-d again to remind us that our success in life is not merely dependent on the fight, but the observance of His Laws. Business activity in
all but ceases between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. After atoning for my sins, I return to the ring with a vengeance, knowing that the Christmas shopping season is just around the corner, that 30 day period when the department stores become the locus of the New York Bermuda Triangle.
We pause on Thanksgiving to give thanks for the bounty G-d has given us. A lot of people eat so much on Thanksgiving, they can hardly get out of their corners for Round 9 of the fight. They believe, self-fulfillingly, that the beginning of the Christmas shopping season ends all commerce, except for retail. Knowing that my competitors in the real estate industry usually began to surrender this time of year, I have always tried to animate our sales force in December with motivational speakers and events.
The final round of the year is fought in the week immediately preceding Christmas. Not everybody is shopping for presents, certainly not all of the time. I’m looking for that one or two people who have finished shopping, or those who are waiting till the last minute. This year I’m not giving an inch to the economy. I will be in the ring, bobbing and weaving, feinting and jabbing, swinging away till the last moment.