The Store / Managing: The New Year
Resolutions from a Store Owner
Make resolutions based on an analysis of last year and a crystal-ball look at where
you should go this year
by Susan Eisen
Every year I look back at how the year went and how I want to change things for the future. Here are suggestions for areas to reevaluate in your store:
Whos running the show? Give it some thought. By carrying brands, you are at the mercy of their requests. Sometimes this means buying more than you should, advertising your name with less emphasis than the brand name or carrying all the styles instead of just the ones you know will sell. Are they calling the shots or are you?
Analyze your displays. Sometimes displays look pretty but just arent practical. They may require extra time to set up in the morning and take down at night. They may not be easy to see from the customers point of view. Just because a display is free with your purchase, dont feel you have to use it if it doesnt show off the merchandise well.
Compare your department sales and gross profit. My computer program is very helpful in analyzing my sales. But sometimes I dont make the time to concentrate on what the figures tell me. Meet with your CPA or consultant and get his or her opinion on your progress. Sometimes someone out of the industry gives you the best advice.
Keep up with technology. Buy that new machine youve been wanting even though you know there will be a long learning curve. I am busy learning how to design jewelry using new technology and, though its very time-consuming, I know the benefits will be great. Get that up-to-date computer program or new computerized or laser-driven shop tools. It sets you apart from your competition.
Get rid of merchandise that weighs you down. Most of us have old inventory lying around. Redesign what you have, trade it back to your vendors, sell it to a liquidator or melt it and sell it for scrap. Believe me, you will never miss it!
Analyze your human resources. All of us have employees who arent at their peak in performance or arent motivated to improve. Set a deadline and make a decision. It helps not to procrastinate in dealing with these issues.
Start a new project. Clean, redecorate, read some new books on business, fund a new charity, plan an exciting trip or go to a new trade show. It rejuvenates you.
Get your own financial future in order. Though most of us believe our stores are our retirement plan, you can do other things to be sure theres plenty of cash around later. Be sure you take out everything you can that saves on taxes and that can save you in the future. Plan a meeting with a financial person, write down everything you have and be sure youre on the right track! My meeting is in two weeks, and its forcing me to get things in order.
We get wrapped up in our businesses, our inventories, our staff and customers, and the next trade show, but spare yourself from falling into the rut of doing the same things year after year until theyre no longer interesting. You are in control of this journey; keep it as lively as possible! Happy 2005.
Susan Eisen is CEO of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches, El Paso, TX. She opened the business in 1980 and has two locations where she designs and sells designer and contemporary jewelry.