Sunday, November 28, 2010

Don't Panic

You're at sea in the middle of a storm. Waves are pounding you from all sides. First from the right, then from the left, then two more from the right. You never know where the next wave will hit. You brace yourself for whatever impact will come and hold on tight.

The only way out of the storm is to keep a steady hand on the helm and keep the ship pointing in the same direction.

Okay, captain?

Economic Storm
We are in an economic storm right now. Ups and down without any predictable pattern. Customers spending more, customers cutting back. Positive and negative news from the media. Positive and negative signs at the register. Sales up big one moment, down big the next. promotions that work and promotions that fall flat.

Want an example from the weekend?

Black Friday I put out some doorbusters - really good sales on some of last year's Step2 kitchens. Even had a $10 coupon from the company to sweeten the deal. Didn't sell a single unit all day! Customer count was exactly the same as last year, but average ticket was down 8%.

Fast forward to Saturday - Small Business Saturday as promoted by American Express. 5% decrease in customers but 10% increase in average ticket. You might think the Amex promotion helped. Yet we had less American Express charges that day than a typical lazy Tuesday in August!

Stay the Course
Some businesses, after a weekend like that, will start twisting and turning every which way thinking that they need to chart a new course with every passing wave. But doing that will never get you out of the storm.

Keep a steady hand on the helm of your business. Adjust the sales as necessary, but always keep heading in the direction you have plotted for your success.

One thing we have learned in sixty years of retail. Smoother seas are always just beyond the storm. You just gotta stay on course.

-Phil

3 comments:

  1. Thanks, Phil. Just what I needed to read.

    -Eli

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  2. Eli,
    I don't know how your weekend went, but it was crazy here - as has been the whole month, looking great at one moment, lousy the next. The one thing that didn't change was that the customers who came through the door routinely praised the staff for their helpfulness and friendliness. And that's the one measuring stick that means the most to me. What's your measuring stick?

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  3. We had a rocking busy weekend. We did more over the weekend then we did in the month of August. Now this week, blahhh...
    Our measuring stick is that we are seeing more people coming in, talking, asking questions and complimenting the store and the staff.
    Full steam ahead with a tight grip!

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