Bobit Business Media CEO: “Last year was the worst year in our 49-year history.”
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Skodzinski: You serve a few industries that were hit particularly hard during the recession. What is something your company did right to survive through difficult economic times?
Bobit: You're correct; the automotive industry was hit really hard last year and late '08. A number of our bigger advertisers went dark or twilight. We did what a lot of companies did, we cut costs wherever we could. We shuttered five titles in 2009, and as a last resort, we laid off 20 associates. I hated to do it, but it was absolutely necessary. Last year was the worst year in our 49-year history. This year we're seeing the results. Profits are up significantly.
Skodzinski: What are you most excited about this year?
Bobit: This was the second year in a row in which our associates didn't receive compensation increases. Earlier this year, though, we instituted a year-end bonus program based on overall profit performance. At the end of every quarter our CFO and I give a state of Bobit Business Media presentation that includes a lot of financial information. It lets our people know how we are progressing toward having them receive their bonus.
Things are looking really good, and I can't wait to present everyone with a check at year-end. Our people have been wonderful working with us through the tough times and they deserve to be rewarded. I'm also very excited that my son, Blake, recently joined the company. He loves the business and brings a whole new perspective to it. My father still comes in at 7:30 every morning when he's not traveling on business, so we now have three generations of Bobits working under one roof. It's great!
Skodzinski: What is the best business decision you have made during the past year or two?
Bobit: Besides implementing our cost-cutting initiatives, I put one of our group publishers in charge of e-media. The fact that she really gets it from a practical standpoint has been a great help for all of our publishers, salespeople and editors, as well as our Web department. Everyone has benefited and feels much more confident.