COMMENTARY
8:35 am
Wed May 14, 2014

For Every Action, Reactions

Credit Calvert Whiskey

When running a business, we must be constantly aware of actions beyond our control that may have an impact on business, and we must know how to react.


You may have read recent predictions that the enormous student loan debt may cripple the housing recovery. First-time buyers are so deep in debt that they can’t afford to buy a house. It’s another dramatic reminder that for every action there are reactions.

Much damage is done in business every day by management actions that are taken without research, no understanding, no regard for potential, even obvious, reactions. None of us does business in a vacuum. We must be constantly aware of actions beyond our control that may have an impact on business.

In the 1970s, I knew a Calvert Whiskey salesman who got a memo from his boss congratulating him on selling  700 cases a month. A year later another memo demanded to know why his sales had dropped to 300 cases a month.

The salesman replied that the price of Coca-Cola had gone up a nickel. The irritated sales manager wanted to know what the hell the price of Coca-Cola had to do with whiskey sales, to which the salesman replied, “In Albany, Georgia, all I have are $2 buyers. They bought my Calvert half-pint for $1.85 along with a fifteen-cent Coke mixer. When Coke went to twenty-cents, they started buying $1.80 whiskey.

No business operates in a vacuum.

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