You’ll never know unless you try

By Rich Lindblom, Contributor

One of my favorite sayings is, “You will fail at 100% of the things you never attempt.”

Think about that for a minute and let it sink in because it’s pretty profound. If you never try anything new, anything different, you may never fail, but you’ll likely never realize great success either.

When I was a retailer, I had another favorite saying when it came to advertising: “I’ll try anything once, maybe twice.”

Basically, I never said no to anything that seemed reasonable or sounded like it had a chance to succeed. Now don’t get me wrong — that doesn’t mean you just blindly over-commit to something new.  You need to try something once, twice, maybe even three times, and then evaluate the results with a microscope.

Sure, there will be wins and there will also be losses, but when you hit that occasional home run, it makes it all worthwhile. 

This approach to business is certainly not limited to advertising. Trying something new can be applied to virtually every aspect of your company. There are an endless number of areas where it would be in your and your store’s best interest to get over your fear of failure and try something different. Heck, it could be something as simple as finally attending a BrandSource Convention or Summit. Here are a few more suggestions:

  • Finally give in and let AVB Marketing build a website for your store.
  • Add a new brand to your product mix.
  • Drop an unprofitable brand, despite a long history with it.
  • Add an entirely new high-margin product category, even if it’s outside your comfort zone.
  • Open that second location you’ve been dreaming about.
  • Close that unprofitable store you inherited.
  • Relocate your current store to a better location.
  • Add an outside salesperson.
  • Fully embrace digital marketing.
  • Buy another service truck and add another tech to your payroll.
  • Replace your 20- or 30-year-old point-of-sale system or get your very first one.

Look, if running a business were easy everyone would do it. The fact of the matter is, what you do is hard, and unfortunately there is no “how to” manual that you can crack open to find all the answers. Sometimes the only way to learn what works is to find out first what doesn’t work. Sometimes it will call for difficult decisions, like ending a long-term relationship with a friend, a vendor, a bank or a landlord.  Regardless, your job is to do what is in your best interest and that of your company.

The bottom line? Go back to the very first sentence of this article. Then get out there and be bold, be creative and keep growing your business.

Rich Lindblom ran a 64-year-old family business, Advanced Maytag Home Appliance of Schaumburg, Ill., and now shares his four decades of retail experience with BrandSource members as product manager for AVB’s SYNC point-of-sale system and as a columnist for YSN. You can reach Rich at

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