Don’t let Independence Day fade with the fireworks

By Gordon Hecht, YSN Contributor

Another Independence Day, aka July 4th, has passed.

Today the holiday has more to do with shoppers signing the bottom of a sales order than John Hancock signing the Declaration of Independence. Our afternoon barbeques, parades, patriotic music and best of all, fireworks, celebrate a new land breaking away from the rules of an oppressive regime.

Way back in 1776, Independence Day signified a new fresh start.

We, the People of the Retail and Customer Service World often operate under oppressive rules and regulations, many of which we impose on ourselves. There will always be factors in the Circle of Concern that affect our business. By declaring independence from negative factors in our Circle of Influence we can keep our careers and businesses moving in a positive direction.

Let’s work smart to make the post-holiday season equally successful. Move forth from July 4th if you want to be free and independent of these constraints:

Overdependence

In your organization everyone has a job to do and every task is important. But if you have a fear of losing someone and hear yourself saying “Without them my business would collapse,” it’s time to declare yourself free of that limitation. You’ll grow knowledge on your team by cross training skills, so that everyone knows how to do everyone else’s job.

Here is another guarantee: at some point a key person will quit, get sick, retire or need extended time off.  Don’t get caught short. As a business owner, guru or manager, you need to know how every task is done. Otherwise you’ll never know if the job is being done well.

Technophobia

Let’s face it: that World Wide Webby thing is here to stay. If you are an American, don’t be an Ameri-Can’t and say “I can’t learn this thing!”

If you can touch glass, you can learn to use a tablet. Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are today’s replacement for direct mail, phone calls and TV. Amaze your friends with your new knowledge and connect with the kids who will be the leaders of tomorrow.

Take a Break from the Blare

I heard there is some sort of vote coming up later this year, which means you can expect triple the amount of sludge pouring out of the around-the-clock news networks. Declare your independence from the naysayers by turning off the spigots for a week. I guaranteed your attitude will change. If you need to get the baseball scores and weather, check out ESPN and The Weather Channel on that smartphone in your pocket.

Store Saturation

It seems like there are more places than ever for people to buy your products. You may have three stores within a mile or 30 stores in town selling the same items you do.

It’s a jungle out there with Amazon, eBay and Overstock.  You may want to club those warehouse stores or tear down the signs on telephone poles with mattresses-and-more for sale.

But know this: You can’t wish them away! Instead, understand that a lot of people are chasing the same scarce retail dollars you are.  Learn what they do great and learn the holes in their operation. Believe me, I shop a lot of stores in a lot of markets, and most ain’t that good. I had a streak of 42 store visits in a row where no one asked me to buy anything. (Are you trying to close every shopper?)

Freedom stems from knowledge. Get out in your market and see what’s going on.

Those colonists that signed their names back on 07/04/1776 were plenty sick and tired of having outside influences affect their lives and liberty. When they dipped the quill in ink and put that ink on paper, they risked all. All we have to risk is being stuck on the platform and watching the wave of progress and success move past us.

Gordon Hecht is a business growth and development consultant to the retail home furnishings industry and a regular contributor to YSN. You can reach him at Gordon.Hecht@aol.com.

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