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Opinion: Rising tide of confidence buoys prospects for 2011

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The Jan. 3-9 issue of Springfield Business Journal, the first for New Year 2011, is not representative of what we have every reason to expect for the weeks ahead. We’re bullish about business for 2011, even though this edition – with its few pages – does not truly reflect the evidence already entered into our books.

For months now, the SBJ advertising staff has been reporting the good news back to our office: Business owners are optimistic in their projections for the year. Prospective new customers and longtime advertisers, who were hesitant about setting up appointments earlier last year, have been sitting down with us to discuss marketing strategy and image campaigns. We’re all letting go of the fear that has been holding us back for so long. We’re ready now to move ahead with our plans.

I can confidently say that future issues of Springfield Business Journal will have a greater number of pages than we presented in the Jan. 3-9 issue. In more cases than not, our business is a reflection of yours. Your worries are ours, too. And when your confidence rises, you buoy us above the waves. We adhere to the old wisdom, “A rising tide floats all boats.”

It’s been a tough couple of years for small business in general. For the first time in my memory, southwest Missouri has suffered right along with most of the rest of the country as we slogged through many months of bad – then worsening – national and world economic news and events.

Although it won’t be a rocket start, we at SBJ are predicting steady increases for our business and for yours in 2011. A good indication is the upcoming Book of Lists, set for relaunch Jan. 21. Bigger and better than ever before, the staff is excited about the huge volume of information that we are able to provide this year. Advertiser and sponsor readiness to support this project was uplifting for all of us at SBJ Publishing.

For two long years, we did not go to print with the annual compilation of lists from weekly issues. SBJ’s Book of Lists had been a tradition for 16 continuous years prior to 2009. Readers eagerly anticipated its release, and they let us know how unhappy they were that we did not find the ready resources to publish it in 2009 and 2010.

The decision to revive the Book of Lists seemed to be a turning point. Its timing coincided with a renewed and pervasive confidence afoot and on the move in this community.

“Enough already,” we seemed to be chanting in unison. We at SBJ are ready to move along with you. Your business is our business to report. When your business is growing, SBJ can grow with you.

As I have written before, our staff works and plays the Great Game of Business, Jack Stack’s system of open-book financial reporting to employees. Last week, after reviewing 2010 figures showing disappointing revenues for advertising (yet growing numbers of paid subscribers), a staff member approached me.

“Aren’t you proud?” she said. “We made it through!”

“And you thought we wouldn’t?” I wondered to myself.

Then I realized that she was sincerely complimenting me and all the staff for the persistence and unified effort that we had shown in surviving the harsh realities of the past two years. At that moment, I moved toward recognition that I truly am proud of us, and everyone in the southwest Missouri business community, who has marched through the storms and adapted to new business patterns and conditions. Because of what we have been through, we have strengthened ourselves and our businesses. We are changed though, and I think, it’s forever.

All of us at SBJ look forward to working with you for a healthy and prosperous 2011.[[In-content Ad]]

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