In the free enterprise system, owners are free to succeed. And free to fail.
That's why The Retail Owners Institute has defined the #1 responsibility of the Owner as the survival of the business.
But then, the owner must define "Why?" Why are we doing this, anyway? Why are we working so hard for this business to survive and thrive?
As the founder and owner of a successful family-owned business, Yvon Chouinard took his owner responsibilities seriously.
And for fifty years, he had been very clear and outspoken about why he wanted Patagonia to survive.
As Chouinard approached his mid-eighties, he had another "owner issue": Who would be the successor owner of this family business?
And, he was intent on assuring that the successor owner would have the same commitment and dedication to his vision for Patagonia.
So, he and his family chose "none of the above." They chose a new answer. They chose to give the company away. ***
As Chouinard put it, "Instead of 'going public,' you could say we’re 'going purpose.'”
“I never wanted to be a businessman," explained Chouinard. "Now I could die tomorrow and the company is going to continue doing the right thing for the next 50 years, and I don’t have to be around.”
Fascinating answers to the questions facing all owners.
And a good reminder that as the owner, not only do you get to decide, you even can come up with new kinds of choices.
* "Why Patagonia’s don’t-call-me a-billionaire owner is giving everything to a climate fund," Conor Pope, Consumer Affairs Correspondent, The Irish Times, September 17, 2022
** "Billionaire No More: Patagonia Founder Gives Away the Company," David Gelles, New York Times, September 14, 2022
*** Earth Is Now Our Only Shareholder, Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia website
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.
Now that we've put a wrap on 2021, and before we really dive into 2022, it's time to catch your breath and reflect on where we are after 2021.
Perhaps like us you believe that fundamental and enduring changes have occurred; no one can operate on "auto-pilot" anymore. All of us have to learn new processes, and form new habits. What's it called? Oh yes; "embracing change." Lots of it.
That's why it is a very opportune time, particularly for owners, to have a very active Q&A session with themselves.
There is much enthusiasm coming out of the buying trade shows, and why not?
Attendance levels have been near to or better than 2019. Energy levels are high, and very contagious. A sense of urgency persists, due to past supply chain issues, emboldening the pressures from the vendors to "Buy now!"
Especially in today's environment, FOMO - the Fear Of Missing Out – can be a compelling sales pitch.
How to deal with this pressure, especially given all the headlines about a coming recession, or drops in consumer spending, or cautions about the need to control expenses, improve profits, maintain cash?
Here are two tactics to help you manage this. One helps monitor and control "How much to buy?" The other helps decide "What to buy?"
About a year ago, as the pandemics were beginning to hit their stride, we introduced a framework for retailers to "rethink your merchandise mix."
As depicted in the chart above, we cautioned that once the lockdown was over, as customers resumed shopping, retailers should be prepared for (1) reduced sales totals overall; (2) significantly re-balanced merchandise mixes, initially dominated by "basics/never-outs."
Further, we anticipated that the merchandise mix would continue to change as we re-emerge from the effects of the pandemics. And we urged retailers to take this overall construct and adapt it to their own situation; to develop their own customized strategic response.*
Now, one year later, here's how this can become "news you can use" to quickly produce your Big Picture buying plan. Especially in the spring of 2021, some practical answers to "What to buy?" , "How much?" and "When?" are likely to be very welcome.
This is, after all, The Retail OWNERS Institute. We long have specialized in alerting, coaxing, and applauding retail owners worldwide.
Today's message is a major heads-up.
Keeping pace with the relentless changes in retailing has never been easy. Retailers know that constant adjustments are demanded.
Then, the three pandemics of 2020 happened: COVID; the economic meltdown; the social unrest. And life changed modestly or enormously for almost everyone, including owners of retail businesses.
Have you noticed? That persisting Plague of Uncertainty that keeps hanging around?
And amidst all this relentless uncertainty, you still have a business to run, employees to motivate, customers to satisfy, vendors to deal with, creditors to pay, etc, etc.
Here are some ideas on how to approach that.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀