Saturday, April 30, 2011

Are You Working ON Your Business or IN Your Business?

Morgan Freeman’s character “Red” said it in The Shawshank Redemption, “You either get busy living or get busy dying.” Never have more truer words been said about retail.

So what are you busy at right now?

Are you busy coming up with new ways to market your business?

Are you busy evaluating your inventory mix to make sure you have the right items, the right amount of items, the right prices?

Are you busy measuring your financials to make sure you have enough cash flow, are keeping expenses in line, and building profits for the future?

Are you busy training your staff, teaching them how to please your customers and make their experience both memorable and worthy of talking about?

If you want to get ahead, you have to spend just as much time working ON your business as you spend working IN your business. Maybe even more.

Here are some simple things you can do to find more time to work ON instead of IN.


  • Don't waste your time stapling, folding, cutting or hole-punching. If you don't have a staff person in need of a simple project, give it to your kids or grand kids. (And if that isn't an option take it home with you and do it while you catch up on your favorite show).

  • Don't micromanage. Train your staff how to do it. Then empower them to do it. Even encourage them to come up with their own ways to do it better.

  • Don't ever say or think "it would be quicker for me to do it myself." The first time, you're right. But if you teach someone else how to do it, the first time will be your last time.

  • Hire somebody. Let them do all that day-to-day stuff that bogs you down. Not only does it free up your time, but it forces you to work ON your business just to find the money to pay them.
And if you aren't sure where to begin working ON your business, think about it as a three-legged stool.


  • The seat of the stool is the products. Without the seat there is no need to prop it up.

  • The first leg, then, is the marketing. What are you doing to get people in to see your products?

  • The second leg is selling. How well trained is your staff? Do they know the benefits of the products?

  • The third leg is the financials. How is your cash flow? Profit? Inventory levels? Expenses?
Pick the wobbliest leg and get to work. (Let me know if I can help).

-Phil

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