It would be easy to start this article by talking about how we’ve all been through the craziest times in our lives. But you already know that. I could also talk about how challenging things can be now, with the extreme difficulties in the supply chain causing many to struggle to keep up with increasing demand. On top of all that, we’re dealing with mask mandates and all kinds of political noise that affects retail. But you know about that too, and you’re already navigating that.
So let’s get down to something important. In times like these, the winners are those that can become hyper-focused on the truly important things. It’s very easy to get distracted by the problems that exist in our industry, to throw up your hands and just hope that things work out. You could do that, but you’re also better than that.
At this moment in time, my most successful clients are focused on 2 things, and 2 things only: Their customers and their inventory. It could be argued that staying hyper-focused on those 2 things has always been the key to retail success, and that’s true. That said, it’s especially true today, given everything I wrote in the first paragraph, the fundamentals of focus are more important today than ever before.
But how do you do that? The nature of our business is such that there seems to never be enough time to get everything done, and lots of small details seem to block our ability to focus on the things we want to focus on.
There is only one path out of this. The first step on that path is to keep a log of all the things that you do in a day, and do that for at least 2 weeks. You’ll be amazed at some of the things that you do, that absolutely, positively can and should be done by someone else, giving you back the time you need to focus on customers and inventory. Fishing those things out, removing them from your life, will be a game changer. I speak from personal experience. I discovered that I was hampering the growth of my business by doing “what I’ve always done” under the false assumption that no one else but me could do these things. What a terrible, terrible mistake, that cost me time, money, pleasure, and a better life.
Please reread that last paragraph again. Don’t just sluff it off to something you’ll do somewhere down the road. Do it now.
One of the areas that many of our retailers struggle with, is the administration of the business. They spend far too much time inside their POS system, not running reports and analyzing the business, but the basic mechanics of creating items and typing in purchase orders. Having trained people in POS systems for many years, I understand the reasons why. You want good data, you worry that someone else won’t manicure and curate the entries as well as you will. But that’s busy work and you need to focus on your customers and your inventories now.
This is why we created a Services Division – to help retailers farm out those things that are keeping them from analyzing their business. Further, we priced it very inexpensively so that everyone could afford these services. We believe by doing this, we can help tons of retailers improve their sales, their margins, their inventory flow, and their market share.
Here’s a story that illustrates what I’m talking about. I called up one of my retailers, and I said, “You seem awfully underbought over the next few months. Why aren’t you placing orders?” He told me he was “working on stuff” and would get to it. I pressed him for a minute, and he finally admitted that he was working on bank reconciliations. I said, “Well, if you don’t write some purchase orders and get more inventory, next month’s bank reconciliation will take a lot less time!” Our Services Division took over his bank recs, and some other things. He got inventory in, and he’s seeing sales increases unlike anything he’s seen before in 20 years of the business.
Don’t let the administrative tasks in your life, rule your life. Farm them out to people who do them well, so that you can be the great merchant that you want to be!
We hope you find all of this helpful as you chart your course ahead. We also hope that you’ll let us help you plan your inventory, work out your marketing, assist with any staffing issues, and generally be of service to you in any way we can!
Please contact me at the number or email above to learn more and be sure to mention that you heard about these helpful services from Board Retailers Association as a portion of the revenues will go back to BRA to help with the development of new educational opportunities and retailer resources.
– Dan Jablons, Retail Smart Guys – www.retailsmartguys.com
If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($100/yr.) Membership via this super simple join form