President of Kirkland, Que.-based optical-media supplier Targray Technology International Inc.
BEAT THE POST-9/11 DOWNTURN
USE THE SLOWDOWN TO SPEED UP YOUR BUSINESS
"When 9/11 happened, cross-border transportation stopped for a couple of weeks," says Richardson. "For us, the peak season in optical media is September and October, because we were producing CDs and DVDs that would be sold during the Christmas rush. We lost two weeks of sales out of the biggest part of the year for us, and ended up with a 20% drop in sales for the year.
"We have a lot of well-educated, well-trained people that you can't lay off and call back two weeks later, so we kept everybody. But it taught us that we had to improve our business. We felt that we should not be so close to losing money and having to lay people off. At that point, we developed core values for the company, and we revamped our recruiting and evaluation processes. Now, we spend a lot of time making sure we hire absolutely the best people. That really invigorated the company, set us on a path to much faster growth and made us better able to respond to adversity."