New Years to do list

Two and a half more days until Christmas. Will be sort of hard to
break records in that time if they aren’t darn close. Just remember
what’s even more important than sales on December 26th is:

How much net profit you made (you can make the same or more with
less profit, you know).

How much you OWE come January 1st.

If you are finding that after counting your money you still owe an
unacceptable amount of money this January, start thinking about the
WHOLE year of 2003, not just the first two months.

If you’re in a pickle, your first objective is to reduce accounts
payables. You do that by:

Sending back to vendor’s items that you owe that won’t sell. “Won’t
sell” doesn’t mean “what’s left”. You either bought too much or too
high end. Get rid of it if possible.

The second is to raise cash.

Raising cash is a two fold process. First exchange goods for money.
Notice I didn’t say for a profit. Just get money. Make a profit
while doing it? Fine.

The second is to STOP SPENDING money. Reduce expenses, don’t order
more stuff EXCEPT for the best sellers. If you can sell, do more
special orders. Most everyone are too over inventoried.

More than likely you should INCREASE advertising. Especially direct
mail to your customer list. Postcards are your best followed by
letters. Just plain letters, from you.

If this Christmas season wasn’t so great, don’t expect that next
Christmas will be gang busters. So don’t keep that stupid over
buying habit you have. Lower inventory so your inventory level is no
HIGHER than the total of all products you sold from the case this
year. Do not include special order purchases or shop purchases.

If you don’t have my price book, type up a new repair price list and
increase ery darn price 20%. It’s so cheap now, no one will notice.

Install an incentive system even if it’s a low one. Give your
employees some bucks when they sell. Buy Harry Friedman’s “No Thanks
I’m just looking” (I have them or you can go to his web site) and use
one chapter at each sales meetings.

Sales meetings? Have them at least every other Friday morning, 45
minutes before opening.

Plan in advance, knowing the slow times of the year to take off for
at least 4 days at a time and go someplace with your family. Even if
you’re a one man band. Take advantage of a long weekend for Memorial
Day, Labor Day, July 4th, etc. It’s slow anyway. Do it. You’ll be
refreshed and rewarded.

Spend time to educate yourself in the business of your business.
Being a great bench jeweler and a superb sales person doesn’t get you
ahead (I know, been there-done that). Running your business like a
business is the way.

Consider yourself a part time employee in everything you do. You’re
in your store doing sales or bench work “part time”. Until you can
hire that person full time and get rid of that job.

You’re a small mom and pop operation and don’t see yourself in that
light? Plan anyway. Maybe you’ll hire you’re “man Friday” and train
him/her so you have a life and they are well paid and have a life.

You can make a lot of money in retail. Or you can eek out a living.

If you’re bench oriented, go to the bank and borrow money or apply
for a lease.

Go BUY a laser welder and a cad/cam system. Learn it, use it, and
sell from it. Everyone who has had made sinful money from these two.
I have seen stores do well with laser and cad/cam and THEN throw the
money away on inventory that doesn’t sell. They are still poor.

Go back and read the first section.

Setup a retirement plan this January. Don’t count on retiring on
selling your store. If you’re 40 BUT instead you were 65 THIS year
and wanted to sell your store THIS YEAR, how would that have gone

Subscribe to InStore magazine. and read this one magazine cover to

Plan this year, no matter how much you’ve worked, to choose the day
of the week that is the slowest (maybe Wednesday) and every week go
home at 2:00, after the lunch crowd has subsided. You’ll be amazed
how well the staff can handle it and you’ll be training them on the
least stressful day to “make the store run without you”. Go ahead,
work the other days as normal but take off early one day every day.
O.K., you can skip that day off in December.

Enjoy the week between Christmas and New Years with your family and
friends. Go out and eat a REALLY nice meal.

Have a nice holiday.
David Geller

Hello Orchidland, I will second David Geller’s “New Years to do
list” - especially the part about planning for retirement!! DO NOT,
I repeat, do not plan on selling your business to fund your
retirement. Read on.

After 18 years of operation, my husband decided to sell his small

business (about two years ago). He owns a convenience store, with
bait and tackle and rental units on about 3 acres near a great
recreation lake in Kansas. Initially, there was serious interest
from at least two people… until 9/11. After that date, no one was
ready to embark on owning a small business in uncertain times. As it
stands now, he closed the business and is going to auction the real
estate (land and buildings/improvements). It has value, but not what
an operating business has.

There you go.  A real life example.  David says to invest in some

sort of retirement plan - he’s very correct. If you do get something
from selling your business in the future, consider that lucky money.
With that thought in mind, a happy New Year to everyone from Judy in

Judy M. Willingham, R.S. Biological and Agricultural Engineering 237
Seaton Hall Kansas State University Manhattan KS 66506 (785) 532-