Note: Mike Weinberg wrote this new-year outlook piece 10 years ago. Looking back to that time is instructive as it shows how business owners have endured tough times and how they must persevere in the same fashion going forward.
A few months ago I wrote an article about a transmission shop that was so poorly operated I didn’t know how it stayed in business. Well, guess what: It didn’t. I drove by yesterday, the signs were down and the place was locked up tighter than a drum. I was sad, but not the least bit surprised.
The “Big Three” domestic automakers are facing the toughest business decisions since the Great Depression. Most of the Tier One OEM suppliers to the domestic market are either in bankruptcy reorganization or have downsized and sold off unprofitable divisions. The unions are in tough shape with plant closings and the movement of domestic manufacturing offshore creating a great loss of jobs. Our industry is intertwined with the automakers, and the times are difficult. It is easy to lose hope, it is easy to throw in the towel, and it is difficult to work out a solution to the present situation.