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What’s a Number Anyway?

May 15th is soon approaching. I posted a blog 7 weeks ago stating that we needed to be ready for work when that date arrives. Why did I pick that date? I figured by May 15th, it would be 8 weeks later and we would all be itching to get out of quarantine. We would all be ready to get back to business. The shock and sadness of the economic & emotional damage of COVID-19 would be less severe and we would want to get back to normal as soon as possible.

I shouldn’t even say get back to business, because we have always been in business. Our business will now be different moving forward. So, let’s get to work. It’s time to focus on what we will do for the rest of the year.


Think this way. If you were a $10 million company at the end of 2019, what will you be now? A $4 million company? If you were a $1 million company at the end of 2019, will ending the year at $500,000 be okay? It is imperative to make this numeric decision for all other decisions (i.e. budgeted expenses, human resources). Sure, it is somewhat of a guess but you have to start somewhere.


I started my new position as Vice President of Sales one month prior to the 2008 recession. Within my first three months, I had to re-forecast the sales revenue for 2009 based on how 2008 was shaking out. I also had to decide what human resources were necessary in order to achieve that new revenue goal (as well as several other things). This re-forecast number affected all other departmental decisions as well.

We had to make tough calls to come through that financial crisis. We made things lean and started to build back up methodically. Times were not always easy and the team needed to trust me. If 2007 was my yardstick for the last “normal” year, we set a goal to hit that “normal” by 2012. We knew 2009 would be tough but we made the three-year commitment and stuck to it. Our goal-setting was effective; we exceeded each previous year’s revenue goal, but most importantly, we actually became more profitable.

I say to all my clients, “a revenue number is just a revenue number.” So many people see a large revenue number as guaranteed success. I help them look at this differently. I would easily prefer a 20% year-end profit on $2 million versus 10% profit on $4 million. It’s the same bottom line with a different hustle. It’s time to look at your company and get back to numbers that make sense moving forward. Use this time to make your company stronger than before the pandemic.

Jennifer Perna

Jennifer Perna

Owner, Fulton Market Consulting, Chicago, IL
Jennifer Perna started Fulton Market Consulting in May 2017 after developing an event experience and sales management experience portfolio for over 25 years in the downtown Chicago catering and special events industry. Jennifer presently works with owners, managers and all team players at hospitality-related companies on increasing sales and creating business development strategies, streamlining processes for operations and event production and developing best practices for human resources and administrative management. This is especially imperative as we continue to manage a diverse and young talented pool of employees today. Jennifer brings a dynamic, approachable and relatable communication style to all levels and members...