From The Co-Founders


Tips, Tactics & Strategic Insights and Commentary
from The ROI Co-Founders, Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists LLC; Retail Turnaround Experts

Answers Are Scarce; Questions Aren't!

Being the owner of a business always has pluses and minuses. Usually the pluses outnumber the minuses. But maybe not so much right now.

If you feel that way, you've got a lot of company. Ugh! But hang on; maybe we have a perspective that you'll find useful and timely. It's called "Misery loves company!"

First, consider where we are. Early July, just past a nice Fourth of July Holiday weekend. The summer and early fall look promising, both for getting "back to normal" and for some leisure hours in the hammock. Nice, eh?

But there are those dark clouds out there. 

What do they mean? Here's our take on that. Each dark cloud is unique and a tough question only owners can answer. Aren't you asking yourself questions like these? 

  • "I sense that this inflation warning may become a reality. What will that mean for my operation? Will our customers accept higher prices? Will our competitors also raise their prices? And when will this inflation issue hit us? And how hard? And for how long?"
  • "Everywhere I turn I see and hear talk of employees demanding and getting raises, often big ones In fact, we've recently lost some people who jumped to other jobs strictly for more pay. Whoa. Was that an alarm bell going off?"
  • "Our buyer(s) have always gone to trade shows this time of year. They're asking me, 'What about this year? Travel expenses are way up and sourcing merchandise online seems to be working quite well. But at market we can see so much more. And negotiate face-to-face. Well, what should we do?'"
  • "We've put a ton of money into upgrading our technology in recent years (and months!) It seems like we never catch up to the advancements. But, what's worse is the fact that so much of this technology spews out reams of data and not really that much useful information. It's maddening. Have the nerds who built this stuff ever been actual retailers? And now, what do I do with this bid for another damn upgrade?!"

"Look, I'm the owner. Everybody believes that I'll have the answers to all these and other questions."

  • Hmm. Don't they realize that this July has more difficult imponderables than any time in memory?" 

    "OK, well, that's why I'm supposed to get 'the big bucks,' right?"

    "Heck. That money just went for the rent increases!"

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