1. Know Who You Are
Over the years, we’ve said no to anything that we didn’t believe suited our core offering. Banner advertising and samples are two good examples.
We got a lot of requests for banner advertising because of the amount of hits our site received. From the outside it looked like a nice, easy additional revenue stream, but we decided against it anyway.
It’s always hard to say no to revenue, but you need to know who you are. We’re a retail company, not a media company. What comes next? A media sales team? How many resources would be redirected to this new division? Always stay true to your brand and your model.
Sampling was the same. From an outsider perspective it looks like you’re giving your clients a value-add, but we didn’t see it that way.
We’re sending flowers from a husband to a wife, and there’s a sample bottle of shampoo? We thought it would actually confuse what the brand stood for. Again, it meant saying no to revenue, but that was okay, we stuck to who we were.
Our business is built on efficiency, and that’s achieved by systems and people. We promote from within a lot.
Three of our four warehouse managers were promoted from within, and our fleet manager started with us as a runner who assisted the drivers. Promoting from within encourages a great work ethic, because everyone knows there is room to grow if they work hard and work well.
3. Get On the Journey
This piece of advice was given to me by a major retailer at an Entrepreneur’s Organisation event. He told us that if you want to change something in your business, take bite-sized chunks and get on the journey. It doesn’t happen overnight. If you can’t measure, you can’t manage, so choose just one thing, and start there. It can be daunting.
Five years ago I realised we weren’t measuring things in our own business, and so we started with one thing: Fuel consumption. Once you have interesting data that you can work with, measure the next thing. Slowly you’ll build up the data you need.
This also really works with employees. People want attainable goals. Once they can see them, you can give them assistance to get there. It gives everyone purpose. What makes people happy?
Money is not the key factor. Shared purpose is, and that takes measuring to get there. Just remember that it’s always a work in progress, and that you can start small and build on it.