Yesterday my wife had seven friends over for "Healthy Group". Eight women around a table talking about vitamins, allergies, hormones and health care. Sharing stories, articles and anecdotes about the latest findings in the worlds of regular and alternative medicine.
None of them are doctors (although I think one of them stayed at a Holiday Inn Express recently) and none of them think they are the be-all-know-all expert when it comes to this stuff. But together they are learning at a rate far greater than they could all by themselves.
There is strength in numbers, especially when everyone is looking out for each other.
Tomorrow I'll be heading to the International Toy Fair to see all the new toys for 2011. I'll also be meeting up with a bunch of fellow toy store owners to "talk shop". Those informal gatherings are every bit as valuable as the trade show. I've learned more about running a retail business in those get togethers than I could ever learn in a book.
We are all in the same boat so we are all looking out for each other.
The students of the Jackson Retail Success Academy are forming bonds with each other, and already sharing their own ideas or thoughts on the class work and how it applies to each unique situation.
The shared experience of taking this class will make them look out for each other.
Too many times I see retailers miss out on these opportunities, these chances to hang out with other retailers, other people who share their concerns. Either they say they are too busy to meet with others, or they say that no one can fully relate to them and their problems.
Sometimes it is the person who can relate the least to your problems that can give you the clearest insight. Sometimes it is the simple task of setting aside time for these activities that you learn better organizational skills or set different priorities that will help you farther down the road. Sometimes it takes a little kick in the butt to get going.
Here's your little kick in the butt. Go find a group of people who can share in your journey and help you grow while you help them. See if your chamber of commerce has a group, or your industry, or just go knocking on some neighbor retailers' doors. You might be surprised to find there are many more like you out there thirsting for knowledge.
Most of all, don't be a martyr. Don't try to succeed at retail alone. Not only is it easier with friends, it's a lot more fun!
PS If you need something to kickstart the conversation, download one of my Free eBooks and get everyone's opinions on the topic (and be sure to tell me what they thought).