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Gerry Walkowski
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Just wondering if this is of concern to anyone here at The Magic Café?

I just wonder if the economy continues to sour, are people are going to pull back on things such as birthday parties? If states are having financial difficulties, could things such as library programs also be on the chopping block?

Any thoughts on this?

Gerry
tparrett62
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Gerry-

I've been performing full-time since 1991. In that time, we've had a few recessions and economic downturns, but I've always managed to find work. One of the things I've found is that people will always find money for their kids- the birthday party business, while not totally immune to recession, is certainly a better market during a downturn than the corporate market. Depending on where you work, things may get tough, but in my experience, many parents will go into debt rather than scrimp on their kids' happiness. Your competitors will be in the same boat, too, so I'd consider investing now in some marketing materials- flyers, postage, possibly pre-paying for some ad space in parenting magazines, etc., while things are better, so you can do the marketing you need to do when things get tougher.
magicofCurtis
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The ones who rely on price to sell their show and generic advertising, it will be rough on.
During the slow times, I have found that many corporations will cut back on entertainment for their events, or cancel the entire event.

I find it amazing how many referrals and previous clients will phone during this time. Also, market yourself to newer companies that are doing well, the ones that have not built up all the millions of debt and all the cool buildings and all the fancy corporate stuff, but the ones like we made 30 million this YEAR. WOW...let's party.... Find these companies in trade magazines and websites.
Lower paying gigs like libraries, schools, and preschools will keep going for the most part. Tparrerr62 hit right on about building up your promo material.
sethb
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Interesting question! I, myself, experienced slower business during the 2007 Xmas season, which I attributed directly to the economic situation. I sell Svengali Decks and other pocket magic, which is an impulse item, and people did seem to be holding their money closer to their vests for such things. Of course, on the other hand, an $8 Svengali Deck is a lot cheaper than a video game (and potentially more fun, too!), so you never know which side of the coin you might be on.

As for libraries, at least here in New Jersey, municipal public libraries are required to have some sort of regular children's programming in order to qualify for financial subsidies from the state. So my guess is that this market will continue, although probably no library will be hiring Lance Burton in the near future. SETH
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Dannydoyle
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Why listen to anyone telling you there is a recession?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
magicofCurtis
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Why listen to Dannydoyle or the dancing banana? Smile
Blair Marshall
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Good post, Curtis.

It may get slower, but I look at a time like this as a marketing opportunity to search out, contact, and develop new customers WHILE maintaining contact with the old.

Then when things pick-up, which they always do, watch out; you have a larger base to work for and draw from.

So if you have a little more down time in the next few months, look at your business and see what areas you have not been marketing to in the past. Then, go for it.

Blair Marshall
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ScottRSullivan
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First, no flames. Just hear me out. I agree with Danny. I know Gerry didn't say we are in one, and his post actually says "upcoming." So, I wanted to clear up: We are not actually in a recession. I am tired of everyone (I'm not talking about Gerry and others here, this is directed mostly at the media) talking about "Are we in a recession?" First, a brief clearing up of the facts:

A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of decline in the GDP. And according to the BAE we had growth last quarter:

Quote:
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property
located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007,
according to advance estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.


So we haven't even seen a single quarter of decline in GDP, let alone two. Now, I will admit that the RATE of GROWTH has slowed. But that is not the same as the economy heading south. It is just that we are not growing as fast as before, but the key fact is that the economy is still growing.

But regardless, there will be people who are having a tough time. I do not want to diminish their situation.

So sitting around complaining about how bad things are going to get is pointless. The question is, how do you position yourself to increase business in the next several quarters?

I agree with Curtis, we should be marketing and refining to whom we market.

Personally, the first thing I would do is to CUT the client list. That's right, GET RID of some of your clients. We all know that for many, the bottom 20% of clients will be the ones that take up 80% of your time, when we should be spending 80% of our time on the top 20%.

So trim your list and focus on growing that top 20%. Normally, they are not the ones that will hire based on price.

Next, ramp UP your promo material. Update your website, put out a podcast for your clients. Do something that really separates you from your competition. Make them WANT YOU.

But don't cut costs, add value.

So let's look forward and climb the ladder, not get stuck in the mud.
Scott
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Magicians, entertainers, made BIG money during the great depression.
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the saddest are, "It might have been"

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ScottRSullivan
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Great point. Same reason with movies that comedies do better during bad times and dramas do better in better times. People use entertainment to escape.
RobertBloor
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Thank you, Scott, for clearing up what Rupert Murdoch and his lovelies have muddied up for us.

Sure, home prices are tanking and foreclosures are up. That's not because of the economy. It's because greedy lenders gave mortgages for many years to anyone who had a pulse and a part-time job at WalMart. And now, it's coming back to bite them in the rear.

As for performing - I'm getting more calls for gigs now than in the past 2 years.

Robert
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Dannydoyle
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Robert, before we blame lenders, let's just explain 2 things.

One, EVERYTHING they need to know is on the paper. If they can read, they can figure out what is going on.

Second, it was the CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA who required lenders to loosen up their standards and start lending to more people. Now, those very people stand by and act as if they had no hand in the problem.

Who thinks banks make more money on foreclosures than they do on loans? If home prices are going down, they will end up selling the things for a loss, if they sell at all. It is an silly notion that banks make money by foreclosing on houses, especially in large numbers.

I wish more research would be done by people, especially the media, before things are said. It would probably result in a educated public, and no recession.

As for recession, it is a natural part of an economy. It HAS to happen. It expands and contracts, it is life. We are going to hit a minor short-term correction. Big deal!
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
RobertBloor
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Yes to recession being natural. You can't go up without having been down.

As for Congress' impact. They also played a role. Heck, they're Congress, and if something is hitting the fan, they are ALWAYS involved.

The **** can't even hit the fan in pro sports without them getting involved anymore.

So, blame greedy lenders and blame Congress. You'll get no objection here!

Robert
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
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Steven Steele
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I live in an area with a very high mortgage failure, and the local school district is looking to lay off over 200 teachers; so birthday parties have all but dried up. I used to get about 10 calls a month for a birthday. By December, that number had dropped to about 2 and I've yet to get a call this year. It'll rebound just like the last two times; luckily I don't do birthday parties, so I haven't been hit relative to the local market.
magicofCurtis
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Actually, I am very busy for this time of the year, averaging about three shows a week. But many have been short notice, i.e. book within the same week or two.
magicofCurtis
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Quote:
On 2008-02-07 17:48, RobertBloor wrote:
That's not because of the economy. It's because greedy lenders gave mortgages for many years to anyone who had a pulse and a part-time job at WalMart. And now, it's coming back to bite them in the rear.

As for performing - I'm getting more calls for gigs now than in the past 2 years.

Robert


Robert,

Although many lenders loosened their belt on some loans, when I bought my house over a year ago, I had to show that I had at least $48,000 in the bank after I made the full 10% down payment. So, I am thinking that it is the adjustable mortgages that are making things a bit crazy.
Destiny
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Entertainment, gambling, and booze all sell well in depression times, so I'm thinking of adding the Shell Game and Think-A-Drink into the show.

Here in Australia, our economy is booming - we're shipping the country to China and India as fast as we can dig it up, so Mr. Murdoch's publications continually fret about the dangers of such a strong economy.

Bad news sells, so good news must be portrayed as otherwise.

Destiny
RobertBloor
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Curtis,

You're absolutely correct on the ARM loans killing buyers. The buyers were stupid and the lenders, in some cases, predatory.

What you have happen is a buyer can't afford a $200,000 home at, say, 5.8%. But he CAN afford $200,000 at 2.3%. Well, of course, what happens when the 2.3% resets after a year or two? Simple - the buyer now has a $200,000 note at 5.8%. The same one he couldn't afford in the first place. (Less whatever had been paid prior to the adjustment.)

Ergo - defaults are huge.

There's a silver lining to this. First time home buyers are now coming into a fantastic position to buy a new home for tens of thousands less than it would've cost even 6 months ago.

Robert
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
Marshall Thornside
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I think we are in a recession (for a while now) and are going into a depression.
No one wants to really say so.

I don't know what kind of effect there will be on the entertainment industry, since I can't remember what it was like in the early '80s, as I was just in grade school.
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Dan Paulus
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I decided not to participate in the recession.
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