LMT asked participants in a very recent e-survey, compared to first quarter 2008, "How's business in the first quarter of 2009?"
Markedly down: 25.5%
Slightly down: 27.5%
Slightly up: 20%
Markedly up: 9%
Most participants are weathering the downturn like they would a storm: battening down the hatches, waiting it out and tightening their belts.
The good news is that many lab owners remain somewhat upbeat: they recognize our community is undergoing a revolutionary change that can be a boon to their business if they handle it well: just shy of 90% expect they will still be in business five years from now. That's a far cry from the number of laboratories that some industry prognosticators predict will meet their demise by 2014.
Survey participation was strongest in the East North Central, South Atlantic and Pacific regions of the U.S. Most of these lab owners are between 46 and 55 years old and operate well-entrenched C&B laboratories with one to five employees.
Here are the most pressing issues expressed by our participants:
Which digital system is best? How much should I invest? Should I buy now or is better technology coming?
We're trying our best to stay on top and ahead of the new technology so we can jump out there before everybody gets on the bandwagon.
We need more qualified, talented technical help!
The economy: we need more customers; we need to keep the work coming in. Business is soft!
This slump is difficult for everybody but we have systems in place to allow us to get through it. We're in it for the long haul and our staff is with us step for step!