by Shane Barbanel
A retail endeavor that does not take stock of itself – an inventory – is a fool’s dream that will eventually fail.
To prevent the failure, or alter the trajectory of your startup’s downward spiral — taking an Inventory is a MUST!
I’ve done it by the way, barreling headlong into oblivion building a business, growing it fast, but not really looking at the balance sheet, just shooting upward, and building without knowing. Believing that by working hard enough, and keeping the business moving forward, I could look at the Debits and Credits later, after we were really built. Big mistake! It’s so important to grow the business, and it’s equally as important to objectify what is working and really, what’s not working so we can assemble a better more effective machine.
To use a retail model: What is selling and what’s not, which items are gathering dust? Are they perishable? If so how much time before that product is a complete loss? Should you drop it, lower the price or reposition it?
If it’s selling then why? Can we sell more? How do we duplicate this with other products?
What strategies work best for foot traffic? How do we get more customers in? Why do the customers we have today stop in? Is it time of day? Lighting, HVAC, or the configuration of the isles? And more importantly: what & why did they buy?
What is that one service, amenity, product or offering that your customer MUST Have! What is it?? Also, what is it on your menu that does not move? (I think I’ve stressed this enough;-)
Also, what question is it you are answering? What’s the problem you are solving for your members or customers? Can you pinpoint the solution you provide? If so then it’s a hop, skip and a jump to massaging that issue out of your prospects. But you cannot do this without clarity, and clarity comes from the inventory.
Now let’s break it down:
What is the best seller?
Why is it selling?
Who is buying it?
Taste, look, feel?
How do we duplicate this?
How do we improve?
What is it on your shelf that is sitting there costing you money?
Why is it not selling?
Is it inferior?
Can we reposition / remarket / drop price & alter the current condition?
All businesses must put themselves through the same set of questions – of course adjusting them for your speciality – but ask yourself direct questions, be honest and open minded to change. Do Not Get Married to a product, service, amenity or whatever you sell, don’t do it! That is at the most business death and at the least a painful endeavour. Be open to hearing about your children in unflattering ways, but then Use This information to improve your overall position in the marketplace and to achieve more peace within your company, because with honest stock taking comes clear communication and a more focused cohesive team.
If you would like to know how we conduct our staff meetings at the CoLab-factory just ask we’ll tell ya!