3 Ways Retailers can to Improve Strategic Thinking
These 3 simple steps will help you approach your business more strategically.
If you believe that strategic thinking is only for big businesses, think again. Every sized organization, from small to large, requires a strategy for success. Ignore this fact and you risk the growth due to you!
To improve your strategic thinking, and your company in the process, focus on developing three key abilities that will help you get ahead in the game: Know, Think, Act.
Know: Company and retail trends
This one is pretty obvious BUT sometimes you get so heads down in the day to day of running your shop-pricing and placing items, helping customers, working with vendors—that you are managing your company in a purely transactional manner; simply getting to the next task. What you need to do is “lift up” and observe both internal and external trends so you don’t miss key information that could help you focus, prioritize, and be proactive in your business.
Get Started: Make a list of your most common issues on a daily basis and then review them weekly and monthly. See what the trends are and think of a solution that can work across multiple concerns. That’s strategy!
Think: Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions
Once you’ve got the hang of “lifting up” to see the big picture, you’ll start to have some nagging questions. These are the tough questions. Is my pricing strategy still appropriate for my business? What will my success look like next year? In 5 years? What will my early signs of success/failure look like? Instead of sloughing these questions off take a few minutes to jot down your thoughts about them and you’ll be surprised that some have simple strategic solves you can start to implement right away (and you’ll be able to avoid pitfalls later!).
Get Started: When you are faced with a problem ask yourself “Why” it’s a concern. Then ask “Why” again. For instance, you might find you are not generating enough revenue. Why 1: Prices are too low. But when you dig deeper and ask Why again you may find that really your prices are fine but you need to drive more traffic to your store to increase the number of sales. Always double check yourself by digging deeper, past your initial perception.
Act: Take control
Now that you’re on top of your trends and have started to think about how they can impact your business (remember, ask Why 2x!) you’re ready to Act. The first step here is to take control of your time. You can do this by delegating tasks, skipping work with no real value, and stepping up to conflicting situations instead of avoiding them. That last one is made easier by keeping conflict neutral and making it about the situation–not the person.
Get Started: Set aside time to strategically think about your business on a weekly basis. This is not wasting time; this is how you will stay competitive! So honor this time just like you would a vendor meeting or a customer in your shop.
As you begin to Know, Think, and Act more strategically, your retail shop will start to benefit. Taking the time to “lift up” out of the everyday and plan for your future sometimes feels overwhelming and daily tasks never really go away. But the changes you make now will be the foundation for your future. You’ve got this!
How do you use strategy in your shop? Share your story in the comments below!