But what message does that send your customers? Does it fire them up to want to shop with you when you complain all the time? No. It makes them hunker down in fear.
And what message does it send your staff? Does it motivate them to work harder and be more cheerful? No. It makes them polish off their resumes and start looking for someone who isn't acting like they are about to go out of business.
Now, I'm not saying you need to go all Pollyanna on everyone. You just need to raise your expectations.
What can you control?
Your level of customer service.
The experience your customers have in your store.
Raise the bar of expectation in all those areas. Shoot high. Really high. Get excited about your ability to take all of those elements to the next level. Get your staff excited about it, too. Make it a game to see who can create a better endcap display. Make it a contest to see who can come up with the next great event idea. Make it a badge of honor to see who can create the most smiles in your store.
You might not hit your mark every time. But just missing a really high mark is far better than easily hitting a really low mark.
Plus, when you aim high all those fears at the top disappear below you.
PS What prompted this post was an article where Citigroup was downgrading certain high-end retailers' stock grades because of the volatility in the stock market. Ummm... hasn't the stock market always been volatile? It is easier for an analyst to shoot low, because no one is mad if she's wrong. You aren't an analyst, though. So shoot high.