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IS COVID 19 THE TIME TO FORGE AHEAD?

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Walter Hay

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My Release Agent Chemical business was thriving in 1973 when a huge international crisis struck the world economy.

A coalition of Arab countries led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Coincidentally it happened to be during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, so the surprise was complete.

To keep this story short I will fast forward to the OIL CRISIS OF 1973, brought about by a decision by Arab oil exporting nations to impose an oil embargo on Western nations deemed to have supported Israel. The result was a worldwide economic disaster, much of it a result of PANIC.

Manufacturing businesses shut down in many Western countries as though there was no tomorrow. In Australia my business screeched to a halt because the products I supplied to manufacturers were aids to manufacture. I had been basking in the pleasure of having constant repeat orders flowing in for the simple reason that if my customers did not have a supply of my products they had no option but to cease production. Now they suddenly stopped production out of fear.

For months I had no sales - no income. If this sounds eerily similar to the situation brought about by COVID 19, it is! There was no sense in what was happening.

Life went on. People were still buying manufactured stuff, but suddenly there were shortages.

I had sufficient funds on hand to easily weather the storm, but was there anything I could do to get out of this hole? Lo and behold, one of my raw material suppliers, a very large American company decided to close down their Australian business. They approached me, telling me how much they had in stock of the raw material I had been buying.

Not phased by the doom and gloom I bought their entire stock. It was a huge purchase, even at the heavily discounted price I paid, but it paid off handsomely when the world woke up one day and realized that life was still going on. Orders began rolling in and I was was like a dog chasing its tail trying to maintain production and deliveries.

The beginning and end of this worldwide crisis were both incredibly sudden. Madness had afflicted business people everywhere. They had never experienced such a situation and were totally unprepared to handle it, so they panicked. Then the sober reality dawned that the world had not ended.

Will the current epidemic end the same way? I think the panic mode will gradually subside this time, but meanwhile opportunities abound. If you have not wasted your earnings, and have looked to the future there are new and old businesses that await your entrepreneurial spirit to start, build, acquire, and grow.

Walter
 

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My Release Agent Chemical business was thriving in 1973 when a huge international crisis struck the world economy.

A coalition of Arab countries led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Coincidentally it happened to be during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, so the surprise was complete.

To keep this story short I will fast forward to the OIL CRISIS OF 1973, brought about by a decision by Arab oil exporting nations to impose an oil embargo on Western nations deemed to have supported Israel. The result was a worldwide economic disaster, much of it a result of PANIC.

Manufacturing businesses shut down in many Western countries as though there was no tomorrow. In Australia my business screeched to a halt because the products I supplied to manufacturers were aids to manufacture. I had been basking in the pleasure of having constant repeat orders flowing in for the simple reason that if my customers did not have a supply of my products they had no option but to cease production. Now they suddenly stopped production out of fear.

For months I had no sales - no income. If this sounds eerily similar to the situation brought about by COVID 19, it is! There was no sense in what was happening.

Life went on. People were still buying manufactured stuff, but suddenly there were shortages.

I had sufficient funds on hand to easily weather the storm, but was there anything I could do to get out of this hole? Lo and behold, one of my raw material suppliers, a very large American company decided to close down their Australian business. They approached me, telling me how much they had in stock of the raw material I had been buying.

Not phased by the doom and gloom I bought their entire stock. It was a huge purchase, even at the heavily discounted price I paid, but it paid off handsomely when the world woke up one day and realized that life was still going on. Orders began rolling in and I was was like a dog chasing its tail trying to maintain production and deliveries.

The beginning and end of this worldwide crisis were both incredibly sudden. Madness had afflicted business people everywhere. They had never experienced such a situation and were totally unprepared to handle it, so they panicked. Then the sober reality dawned that the world had not ended.

Will the current epidemic end the same way? I think the panic mode will gradually subside this time, but meanwhile opportunities abound. If you have not wasted your earnings, and have looked to the future there are new and old businesses that await your entrepreneurial spirit to start, build, acquire, and grow.

Walter
^^^^THIS is why we cannot afford to lose the older generation.

@Walter Hay your knowledge, perspective, and generosity are an absolutely incredible gift to all of us.

Please keep on sharing.
 

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I think the panic mode will gradually subside this time, but meanwhile opportunities abound. If you have not wasted your earnings, and have looked to the future there are new and old businesses that await your entrepreneurial spirit to start, build, acquire, and grow.
Awesome insight, thanks Walter. Definitely making me think a bit differently about future ideas and opportunities. Those that make it out of this will reap the rewards!
 

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Yes, I think it's the time to forge ahead. We can win by attrition where others quit. And we can show our customers that we're reliable even in tough times, and earn their gratitude and continued business. Thank you Walter.
 

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My Release Agent Chemical business was thriving in 1973 when a huge international crisis struck the world economy.

A coalition of Arab countries led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Coincidentally it happened to be during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, so the surprise was complete.

To keep this story short I will fast forward to the OIL CRISIS OF 1973, brought about by a decision by Arab oil exporting nations to impose an oil embargo on Western nations deemed to have supported Israel. The result was a worldwide economic disaster, much of it a result of PANIC.

Manufacturing businesses shut down in many Western countries as though there was no tomorrow. In Australia my business screeched to a halt because the products I supplied to manufacturers were aids to manufacture. I had been basking in the pleasure of having constant repeat orders flowing in for the simple reason that if my customers did not have a supply of my products they had no option but to cease production. Now they suddenly stopped production out of fear.

For months I had no sales - no income. If this sounds eerily similar to the situation brought about by COVID 19, it is! There was no sense in what was happening.

Life went on. People were still buying manufactured stuff, but suddenly there were shortages.

I had sufficient funds on hand to easily weather the storm, but was there anything I could do to get out of this hole? Lo and behold, one of my raw material suppliers, a very large American company decided to close down their Australian business. They approached me, telling me how much they had in stock of the raw material I had been buying.

Not phased by the doom and gloom I bought their entire stock. It was a huge purchase, even at the heavily discounted price I paid, but it paid off handsomely when the world woke up one day and realized that life was still going on. Orders began rolling in and I was was like a dog chasing its tail trying to maintain production and deliveries.

The beginning and end of this worldwide crisis were both incredibly sudden. Madness had afflicted business people everywhere. They had never experienced such a situation and were totally unprepared to handle it, so they panicked. Then the sober reality dawned that the world had not ended.

Will the current epidemic end the same way? I think the panic mode will gradually subside this time, but meanwhile opportunities abound. If you have not wasted your earnings, and have looked to the future there are new and old businesses that await your entrepreneurial spirit to start, build, acquire, and grow.

Walter
Love this post Walter!

I wish I had people like you physically around me, I wouldn't be so depressed right now.

This will end, sooner than we expect. Businesses will re-open. The world will "resume". Stocks will soar. New businesses started by entrepreneurs who are PLANNING now instead of constantly refreshing CNN and arguing politics, will boom. Oil prices will soar. And morning commutes will resume.

I'm really looking at new opportunities in raw materials, manufacturing, and this whole "domestic" supply approach and to make these as automated as possible so that in a future crisis, I won't need staff to run the plant or it will be as minimal as possible.
 
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Walter Hay

Walter Hay

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I wish I had people like you physically around me, I wouldn't be so depressed right now.
Depression is a complex subject, but I do know that to overcome depression caused by a crisis that can make you feel helpless the best treatment is action.

Plan, yes, but set that plan in motion as soon as you are physically and financially able. You will feel so much better.

Best wishes,
Walter
 

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@Walter Hay , this is the dominant discussion in our house. Both mine and my wife's businesses have been closed by the authorities. But we are entertaining all off the wall ideas that come to us for new enterprises. When this is over, nothing dictates that we have to do the same thing we were doing prior.

And, it keeps us sane.
 

Process

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My Release Agent Chemical business was thriving in 1973 when a huge international crisis struck the world economy.

A coalition of Arab countries led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Coincidentally it happened to be during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, so the surprise was complete.

To keep this story short I will fast forward to the OIL CRISIS OF 1973, brought about by a decision by Arab oil exporting nations to impose an oil embargo on Western nations deemed to have supported Israel. The result was a worldwide economic disaster, much of it a result of PANIC.

Manufacturing businesses shut down in many Western countries as though there was no tomorrow. In Australia my business screeched to a halt because the products I supplied to manufacturers were aids to manufacture. I had been basking in the pleasure of having constant repeat orders flowing in for the simple reason that if my customers did not have a supply of my products they had no option but to cease production. Now they suddenly stopped production out of fear.

For months I had no sales - no income. If this sounds eerily similar to the situation brought about by COVID 19, it is! There was no sense in what was happening.

Life went on. People were still buying manufactured stuff, but suddenly there were shortages.

I had sufficient funds on hand to easily weather the storm, but was there anything I could do to get out of this hole? Lo and behold, one of my raw material suppliers, a very large American company decided to close down their Australian business. They approached me, telling me how much they had in stock of the raw material I had been buying.

Not phased by the doom and gloom I bought their entire stock. It was a huge purchase, even at the heavily discounted price I paid, but it paid off handsomely when the world woke up one day and realized that life was still going on. Orders began rolling in and I was was like a dog chasing its tail trying to maintain production and deliveries.

The beginning and end of this worldwide crisis were both incredibly sudden. Madness had afflicted business people everywhere. They had never experienced such a situation and were totally unprepared to handle it, so they panicked. Then the sober reality dawned that the world had not ended.

Will the current epidemic end the same way? I think the panic mode will gradually subside this time, but meanwhile opportunities abound. If you have not wasted your earnings, and have looked to the future there are new and old businesses that await your entrepreneurial spirit to start, build, acquire, and grow.

Walter
Yes I have witnessed the 08 panic, now is the time to keep solving problems and offering value while everyone else psyches themself out.

There’s more to lose from paralysis than measured action.

is it true China’s production is back online?
 
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Walter Hay

Walter Hay

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Yes I have witnessed the 08 panic, now is the time to keep solving problems and offering value while everyone else psyches themself out.

There’s more to lose from paralysis than measured action.

is it true China’s production is back online?
There are many reports that some factories are back in production, but the real problem currently is transporting those goods to buyers, whether getting them to countries other than China, or delivering them to the importers once in the destination port, and then to the importers' customers.

The chain is currently broken.

Walter
 

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  • Thanks @Walter Hay, both my gut and this chart tells me that you are correct :cool:
  • There is still opportunity out there, especially when looking at things from a macro level perspective
  • I have been through
    • Coups, Long-Term Capital Management, the Dot Com Bubble, Enron, WorldCom, Y2K, 9/11, the Great Recession yet this chart still holds true
  • “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome” - USMC
  • https://seekingalpha.com/article/4083927-assuming-this-time-is-not-different
31389
 
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Walter Hay

Walter Hay

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  • Thanks @Walter Hay, both my gut and this chart tells me that you are correct :cool:
  • There is still opportunity out there, especially when looking at things from a macro level perspective
  • I have been through
    • martial law, coups, Long-Term Capital Management, the Dot Com Bubble, Enron, WorldCom, Y2K, 9/11, the Great Recession yet this chart still holds true
  • “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome” - USMC
  • https://seekingalpha.com/article/4083927-assuming-this-time-is-not-different
View attachment 31389
The 1973 oil crisis was not the only time I had to survive a dramatic downturn but my business survived each time because of my fiscal conservatism, and each time when the shattered dreams, foreclosures and other terrible things were over, the disastrous immediate past was replaced by a boom.

My father didn't manage so well in 1930. He quickly lost his large trucking business, his home, and his bank account, and for a while the family was destitute. But after living in a shack about the size of a single garage with my mother and my 9 older siblings for 7 years (about the time I was born) he turned his life around and when WW2 started he was very comfortable again.

Downs don't last forever as that historical chart well illustrates.

Walter
 
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Walter Hay

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I have received reports that the logistics chain in China is beginning to get back into operation. If logistics can be sorted out in the countries where you are selling and are able to deliver for you, maybe now is a good time to restart your online selling.

Amazon still won't receive shipments of what they class as non-essential goods, but if you can figure out what essential goods you can supply it could be worth a try.

Some new enterprises might start up offering supplies to beat boredom. Both adults and children can quickly suffer from cabin fever, so there could be a big opportunity.

It is clear to me from the considerable recent upsurge in sales of my books that there are members who even if not ready to go right now are preparing.

Several have told me that they will not be sourcing from China, and their main purpose in buying my sourcing book is to take advantage of the present situation by importing from other countries.

This crisis could even lead to a big shift in global trade.

Walter
 

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I have received reports that the logistics chain in China is beginning to get back into operation. If logistics can be sorted out in the countries where you are selling and are able to deliver for you, maybe now is a good time to restart your online selling.

Amazon still won't receive shipments of what they class as non-essential goods, but if you can figure out what essential goods you can supply it could be worth a try.

Some new enterprises might start up offering supplies to beat boredom. Both adults and children can quickly suffer from cabin fever, so there could be a big opportunity.

It is clear to me from the considerable recent upsurge in sales of my books that there are members who even if not ready to go right now are preparing.

Several have told me that they will not be sourcing from China, and their main purpose in buying my sourcing book is to take advantage of the present situation by importing from other countries.

This crisis could even lead to a big shift in global trade.

Walter
I say that it WILL lead to a big shift in global trade. I can't think of any time when a single point of failure is a good idea.
 
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Walter Hay

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My son-in-law, who handles my book sales has reported yet again that sales continue to grow. This is after a period of a couple of months when it all went quiet.

It seems that this activity following a period of inactivity is a reflection of the widespread panic and despair being replaced by an awakening to new possibilities.

Walter
 

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I've sold more the last 10 days than I do in a normal 60. Calling everyone and selling while everyone else is hunkering down. We've started calling ourselves Corona Pirates :rofl:
 

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My Release Agent Chemical business was thriving in 1973 when a huge international crisis struck the world economy.

A coalition of Arab countries led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Coincidentally it happened to be during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, so the surprise was complete.

To keep this story short I will fast forward to the OIL CRISIS OF 1973, brought about by a decision by Arab oil exporting nations to impose an oil embargo on Western nations deemed to have supported Israel. The result was a worldwide economic disaster, much of it a result of PANIC.

Manufacturing businesses shut down in many Western countries as though there was no tomorrow. In Australia my business screeched to a halt because the products I supplied to manufacturers were aids to manufacture. I had been basking in the pleasure of having constant repeat orders flowing in for the simple reason that if my customers did not have a supply of my products they had no option but to cease production. Now they suddenly stopped production out of fear.

For months I had no sales - no income. If this sounds eerily similar to the situation brought about by COVID 19, it is! There was no sense in what was happening.

Life went on. People were still buying manufactured stuff, but suddenly there were shortages.

I had sufficient funds on hand to easily weather the storm, but was there anything I could do to get out of this hole? Lo and behold, one of my raw material suppliers, a very large American company decided to close down their Australian business. They approached me, telling me how much they had in stock of the raw material I had been buying.

Not phased by the doom and gloom I bought their entire stock. It was a huge purchase, even at the heavily discounted price I paid, but it paid off handsomely when the world woke up one day and realized that life was still going on. Orders began rolling in and I was was like a dog chasing its tail trying to maintain production and deliveries.

The beginning and end of this worldwide crisis were both incredibly sudden. Madness had afflicted business people everywhere. They had never experienced such a situation and were totally unprepared to handle it, so they panicked. Then the sober reality dawned that the world had not ended.

Will the current epidemic end the same way? I think the panic mode will gradually subside this time, but meanwhile opportunities abound. If you have not wasted your earnings, and have looked to the future there are new and old businesses that await your entrepreneurial spirit to start, build, acquire, and grow.

Walter
I d like to have your entrepreneurial genius!
 
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Walter Hay

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Depends what you're selling...
Now might not be the time to try to continue selling whatever you have been selling before the virus changed everything.

It's more likely a time for brainstorming, preparing, planning, finding new needs to suit the current situation, and possible future ones for the time when normality returns.

Once you experience that light bulb moment, with time on your hands the obvious next step is to set the wheels in motion.

If none of this works for the present, the enforced isolation could be used as an opportunity to learn.

Walter
 

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Now might not be the time to try to continue selling whatever you have been selling before the virus changed everything.

It's more likely a time for brainstorming, preparing, planning, finding new needs to suit the current situation, and possible future ones for the time when normality returns.

Once you experience that light bulb moment, with time on your hands the obvious next step is to set the wheels in motion.

If none of this works for the present, the enforced isolation could be used as an opportunity to learn.
Good enough to print and put it on my wall for next week (except my printer isn’t working dammit).

Agreed. Draw a line in the sand Monday morning and reassess everything in the light of what’s happened in the past few weeks. Things are changing so fast.
 

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Good enough to print and put it on my wall for next week (except my printer isn’t working dammit).

Agreed. Draw a line in the sand Monday morning and reassess everything in the light of what’s happened in the past few weeks. Things are changing so fast.
Well, I literally reassessed and reset everything in my life last week Friday afternoon 27th Mar. BUT, things just turning up-side-down again last night....things are changing at a shockingly & electrifying rates.
I'm going to vacuum & mop the floor now...that's the only thing stay 'normal' at this stage!
 
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YES!

As Entrepreneurs we will not just survive we will thrive.

Every day it is very surreal to wake up in this crisis....and also wake up to this bowl of B.S. the person that is leading the way...

 

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Thanks Walter,

Panic set in last week, but making a plan and putting into action mostly quelched it. We're going to be ok, just had to frame the problem and think through the change of course needed.
 

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“Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome” - USMC
This has been the primary mantra that has gotten me through this.

The stark reality of one day watching the cash register ring up ka-ching one after the other and within 48 hours all I'm hearing is chirping. In-store sales have dropped 60%, online orders have fallen about the same.
I've only had to lay off one employee so far but in order to remain open I've had to drop every employees hours down to about 24 hours weekly. Had a long talk with each of them and they would rather work than take a layoff.

Now might not be the time to try to continue selling whatever you have been selling before the virus changed everything.
This is the truth. We have to focus on what we can offer and not focus on what we have offered in the past.
Most of our local business's are closed due to a 'stay at home order' unless you are regarded as an 'essential business' Fortunately, we are regarded as essential as we sell safety equipment. Added to that, one of my operations is that I'm also a U-haul dealer and that is regarded as essential though it isn't a primary source of revenue, although it does quite well.

I told all of my employees that we may end up having no customers in the store but we can be the largest U-Haul private dealer in our area if we work toward that. Most smaller dealers cannot remain open as the lack of customers coupled with lack of parking, location, etc makes it financially unfeasible. Many of these dealerships are temporarily closing up. I contacted our UHaul corporate office and told them to route us all the equipment they can, and I'll stack the equipment in our parking lot. I knew if we had the equipment, they would send us the reservations coupled with smaller stores closing.
We are beginning to see the effect of that decision and hopefully will allow us to remain busy, plus the added effect of selling gloves, safety glasses, moving supplies etc all adds to the bottom line.

Pivot & Adapt.
 
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Walter Hay

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This is the truth. We have to focus on what we can offer and not focus on what we have offered in the past.
WOW! Although I have nothing to do with your business it gave me a lift to read how you are adapting.

It would appear that when the crisis is over you might come out of this better off than when it started.

I hope your story will be a source of encouragement to others.

Walter
 

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Been working the past 5-6 months to launch a fairly complex eCommerce business that I believe has enormous potential. Not the best timing, as we are just about ready to launch, which involves taking the final step on a fairly sizeable payment.

The way I'm thinking it through is that the most likely outcome is one of two scenarios. Keep in mind, I'm not an epidemiologist, nor an expert in public policy, which is why I'm trying to simplify this for myself:

1. The current situation continues until Mid-Late May. There is a lot of turbulence, but unemployment stays below 10%. It feels like the absolute end of the world, but 90% of customers are still getting paid and will continue to spend, if not on luxury purchases.

Coming from Europe before moving to NA, there have been many years of countries experiencing 15%+ unemployment and many companies have still succeeded. I believe Greece even had 30% unemployment for quite a period. Around 8% unemployment is standard in Italy. Do businesses still not succeed there?


2. The situation continues to deteriorate. Unemployment hits 25-30% or higher. In which case, all of my existing investment are likely greatly diminished anyways, causing any loss in this business to appear miniscule.


This is the way I'm reasoning through this period. The way I see it, if I'm confident in the underlying principles of the business and am fairly sure that it's a product that people will continue to purchase even in a small-medium recession, there is little reason to delay.

I may be completely wrong, and there is a chance that this will be proven true. Open to criticisms or comments.
 
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Walter Hay

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Coming from Europe before moving to NA, there have been many years of countries experiencing 15%+ unemployment and many companies have still succeeded. I believe Greece even had 30% unemployment for quite a period. Around 8% unemployment is standard in Italy. Do businesses still not succeed there?
Full employment is not a prerequisite for a successful business. Manufacturing in Italy continued to do well even when the big boys controlling EU policy were making life hard for them with demanding austerity measures.

Some very big importers continued to buy from Italy, and the reason for that? ..... QUALITY.

Not all of those successful Italian businesses were in the big league. I and my franchisees used to buy from a small Italian company, and I know from contact with one of my best former franchisees they are still buying from them - at least they were until the virus hit.

If such a small manufacturer could last through the EU imposed austerity siege which affected many EU countries, particularly Portugal, Greece, Italy and Spain, any business can succeed in tough times if they present the right products, with good quality, and good service. In the case of that company I refer to, both quality and service were excellent, but in addition, they were innovators always coming up with new ideas and improvements to their existing products.

Walter
 

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