I’m astounded (yes astounded) by the number of small companies I work with that don’t know how to do something, but plow along anyway. I give them all a gold star for their tenacity. The rub? So often the wrong decision is made and the company is left with an unneeded burden.
A small design company needed an updated database software system to keep track of all the jobs it works on for different clients. They interviewed a number of companies and found the one that best met their needs, then signed the contract. The problem? No one thought to involve anyone from accounting. So now they have a company who is developing a database system without any financial component. Instead of being able to track expenses, issue invoices, run an accounts receivable report, etc. from their new system, we’re now trying to figure out how to marry a new accounting system with the database system – what a disaster. The system will never be what it needs to be, and it’s going to cost more money to integrate the two. And that still will be less expensive than doing double the work of having to input information into two systems.
How do you avoid this type of scenario in your company?
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
If you don’t know how to do it, then get a little intellectual honesty and admit that fact to yourself, then find someone who does know how to do it. Farm It Out! Doesn’t that sense of power you get from uttering those three simple words feel great? Farm It Out!
It can be anything from accounting (which if I’m a small retailer, “I’m farming that out”), to programming the point-of-sale computers to building new shelves. So often small retailers are operating on a shoestring and try to do it all. And what happens as a result is that the focus becomes running the business and all focus on the customer and store experience is lost, which creates a tailspin that’s hard to pull out of.
So how do you find the right person to help? Go back to your personal life. How did your find your plumber, electrician, doctor, cleaning person? Chances are they all came from recommendations from friends and business associates. Use your network to find the right people who come personally recommended.
When you’re facing an issue or problem you aren’t sure how to approach, Farm it Out! You’ll save yourself a lot of time, energy and money in the long run.
And don’t forget to look internally for problem solvers as well. That part-time employee may be a computer whiz cloaked in a retail costume.