If you have seen my live presentations, you know I love great quotes. I love quotes that make you think, quotes that teach you a lesson, quotes that give you perspective.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. that relate to our type of business.
"Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness."
We all have customers who try to take advantage of us. It is easy to want to feel bitter about them or react by creating programs or policies to deter them. Unfortunately, those changes always come across as bitter or anti-customer. Do not succumb to those feelings. Accept that some people will act that way. Treat them well anyway. You never know what they are thinking and how you just might make a difference in their lives through your kindness.
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
The pretty much epitomizes the mindset you need to be a successful retailer. Have faith in your abilities. Have faith in your business model. Have faith to take risks even when you do not see the outcome clearly because you will never see the outcome completely clearly. The only outcome that is clear as a bell is that nothing good will happen if you do nothing at all.
"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend."
Embrace your tough customers. Embrace your unhappy customers. Say, "I'm sorry," when someone is unhappy with your business. If they are unhappy, there is something you did wrong. Apologize, accept that you were wrong somewhere, and then make it right. Love those tough customers and instead of writing bad things about you on Yelp, they will become your most loyal supporters.
"Everyone can be great because everyone can serve."
Put yourself in the service of others - both your customers and especially your employees - and they will lead you to greatness. The best training you can offer your staff is to role model the behavior you expect of them. Your staff will never care more than you so you need to care more than they have seen. They will never work harder than you, so you have to work hard (smart) enough that your staff's lesser efforts are more than your customers expect.
"All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem."
The one mistake we often make is believing that once the next problem is solved, it will all be smooth sailing. If you wish to succeed, you need to be prepared to meet each problem head on. One way you do that is by furthering your education, furthering your own personal growth as a leader, as a retailer. You will never not have problems, but you can overcome them more easily the more you prepare yourself.
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!
PS If you are looking for a way to grow your retail business and are in the Jackson area, next Monday starts the fifth year of the Jackson Retail Success Academy. Contact me to find out how you can get signed up.
PPS If you are not in the Jackson area, but are interested in the contents of the Jackson Retail Success Academy, I offer a two-day workshop that includes all of the best content from that class in two jam-packed days. Contact me for pricing and booking information.