Despite still-hard times, SSN readers optimistic about 2010

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

YARMOUTH, Maine—Some people have begun to say the economic slowdown is almost over and that times are starting to get better. Some are claiming we’re surely almost out of the woods. Do you agree with that? Do you feel there is a light at the end of the economic tunnel? Are things starting to turn around for your business? How is your 2009 finishing out? Looking forward to Q1 2010, how would you characterize your plan of attack? Security Systems News, in an early November survey, asked readers what they thought.

As of Nov. 9, more than half of those who voted—53 percent—said they thought times were still hard and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. A very small percentage—seven percent—asked “What economic downturn?” A little less than half of you—40 percent—believed things were starting to improve.

Brent Hamachek of Northbrook, Ill.-based Ionit Technologies, was not optimistic. “Nothing in the underpinning fundamentals of the economy has improved. In fact, everything done or proposed to be done by the current administration will create impediments to free-market solutions and an economic revival,” Hamachek said. “Upward pressure on interest rates, a necessary increase in the money supply to monetize debt and an uncertain tax and regulatory climate are all harbingers of darker times ahead.”

Howard Feldman of Solana Beach, Calif.-based Pioneer Security Services stated his apprehension simply: “The light at the end of the tunnel may be a train,” Feldman said.

When asked how 2009 was going to wrap up, voters were pretty evenly split with 37 percent of you feeling optimistic and forecasting your company to finish the year stronger than you started. Only slightly fewer of you—34 percent—thought you would finish 2009 in a less favorable position than you started the year. Playing it safe were 29 percent of you who felt your company would finish 2009 in about the same place as you started.

“By year’s end we will post record sales and earnings. Perhaps we were lucky,” said Las Vegas-based Emergency Detection Systems sales manager Rebecca Overton. “It has been a very tough year for us, though we continue to use tried and true marketing methods and insist on a very high standard from all our people.”

The final question SSN had to ask you concerned your plans for the future. The majority of you—58 percent—said that though times have been hard you refused to be timid and planned a more aggressive plan of attack for your business. A little less than a quarter of you—24 percent—felt the opposite approach was warranted and voted for a more conservative approach in 2010, while 18 percent of you said there would be no change in your market strategies in the New Year.

Tom Sansone of Clifton, N.J.-based T&R Alarm Systems was hopeful for the future and advocated action. “We have been in a hiring mode. We’ve spent the last year getting our ISO 9001 certification for improving customer service. We felt it necessary to have systems in place to constantly improve service,” Sansone said. “The new consumer is smarter and expects instant gratification when it comes to service, so we made it our goal to provide what they want or lose the business or the customer. We’ve been trying different vertical markets and have scored successfully in some. We are busy and feel 2010 will be a great year.”