My wife hit her goal today. In the fall of 2007 she set a goal - lose 50 pounds... the right way.
Yep, eat right, exercise more.
No fad diets, no magic fat-burning pills, no surgeries, meal deals or other gimmicks. Just eat right and exercise more.
Yes, she enlisted help. She signed up for Measure-up Monday through Allegiance Health to give her someone to which she would be accountable. She also signed up for exercise classes, figuring that if she paid money she'd be more apt to attend.
And it worked! It took her eighteen months, but she has dropped 50 pounds, 7 dress sizes, and a load of unhealthy self-esteem.
Best of all, because of the changes in lifestyle, she's going to keep that weight off for good.
So what does this have to do with your business?
Just like losing weight, there is no miracle cure to make your business profitable. You have to change your habits. You have to...
Eat right and exercise more.
Eat right means control your inventory. You need to bring in the right products in the right amounts. You need to calculate and closely follow your Open-to-Buy. You need to manage your cash flow. It might mean making a wholesale change to how you run your business. It did for my wife. She reads labels more carefully, understands nutrition much better, and makes smarter choices based on new information. Oh, she still has dessert every night, just not as much and not as often. She changed her eating habits. Can you change your buying habits? Of course you can.
When your business eats right, you'll find your business is leaner and more agile, able to make changes to meet the needs of the marketplace faster.
Exercise more means get out and work. Retail is not for the lazy. As Roy H. Williams said, "If making a profit were easy, everyone would be doing it." It takes work. It takes paying attention to the details of your customer service. It takes following your finances closely and knowing what each number is and what affects them. It takes doing your due diligence in the hiring and training of your staff to make sure they represent you as well as possible. It takes scrutinizing your marketing to make sure it portrays the message you want it to portray.
In short, it takes effort. The good news is that the work becomes habit forming. After a few months of working out at least 5 times per week, my wife now feels horrible if she doesn't work out. And the same will be true for your business. The more you work at it, the easier the work becomes.
One of the biggest drawbacks to losing weight is simply getting started. The same is true of the pile in your inbox. But if you make small changes daily to pay just a little more attention to the details, to focus just a little more sharply, your inbox will be less daunting and easier to manage.
If you want lasting profitability, you have to make changes to your business lifestyle. There are no shortcuts. You have to eat right and exercise more. And if you do, it will work!
Just ask my wife.