34 | The Jewelry Business Magazine I’m not just talking about the stock market here, since unemployment is at a 40-year low, African-American, Hispanic, Asian and female employment are all at historic highs, wages are on the rise, as is consumer confidence, and generally, after over a decade of bad news, things look great. But what about you and your jewelry store? Are you exploiting the current Trump economy, or simply riding the wave… until it crashes? Regional peculiarities aside, if your business is not up in this environment it can only be attributed to a couple of things… One, you backed off your marketing during the recession and the competition didn’t. Customers were wooed away and now that the economy is back, they’ve established new buying habits and preferences, to no longer include you. Two, your marketplace changed as chains, big boxes and online competitors came to the fore and you didn’t respond to those market changes. Once again, while you were in hibernation, the public shifted its habits and preferences and left you behind. If your business is up but no more than the economy itself, it’s a fair bet you’re riding the Trump economy wave. Nice for now, but you’re not actually exploiting it, and when the wave crashes – and waves ALWAYS crash – you suffer the consequences. On the other hand, if you stayed on top of the market all the way through the recessionary and slow-recovery years, like Mark Helgerman of Trinity Jewelers in Pittsburgh, PA did, you were able to exploit the down times, pick up hundreds, if not thousands of “orphaned” customers as the competition either retreated or went out of business altogether, and put yourself in position to exponentially grow during the good years we’re enjoying now. Now is NOT the time to rest on your laurels, regardless of the spot you find yourself in right now. This IS the time to take advantage of a natural upturn, to invest in your marketing prowess, habits, systems, skills and resources. I recommend carving out a percentage of your increased revenues – assuming you’re not playing catch-up from your time of recession dormancy – and investing in upgrading all of the above, to make sure you get the most out of the prosperous near future and prepare for the inevitable downturn ahead. The Trump economy is likely to stay strong through the 2020 election, because people are not likely to do anything to ruin it before then. Not in their own best interest. On the other hand, after the election, all hell could break loose. And even beforehand, if the tariffs enacted by the President don’t lead to resolution of our trade problems with China and our border problem with Mexico. So another percentage of your current increases should go into marketing preparation for the coming bad times, whenever they arrive. For one thing is absolutely certain… By Jim Ackerman ARE YOU EXPLOITING THE TRUMP ECONOMY? I don’t know about most jewelers, but most economists agree – and public sentiment seems to concur – that the American economy is in excellent shape right now.