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You’ve Done A Very Good Job

  
  
  

If you’re an independent retailer, there's something I'd like to share with you. 

You’ve done a very good job. 

Over the past three or four years, there hasn’t been an independent retailer that I’ve spoken with that hasn’t been seriously impacted by the recession and the anemic recovery that’s followed. The material impact has been financial, but the emotional and psychological has been just as significant. 

For all of their determination to turn their businesses around, almost everybody I talk with feels like they’ve been through the grinder. For them, as much as they’ve tried, it’s all-too-often hard to insulate their self esteem from the fortunes of their businesses. They struggle with the sense that somehow they’ve failed - that if they really were capable and successful business people that they wouldn’t be in the situation they’re in. 

And they couldn’t be more wrong. 

The independent retailers I talk to are all exceptional merchants, with solid skill sets, well-developed business models and they’re really good managers. They are all passionate and persistent. In most cases what they need is help enhancing their financial and retail management skills, to generate consistent, positive cash flow from their revenue stream, to begin to work down their liabilities and rebuild working capital. 

So, pretty early in the conversation, here’s what I say to them - and if you’re an independent retailer and you’re feeling much the same, here’s what I want to say to you: 

You’ve done a very good job!

You’re still in business. You’ve demonstrated exceptional tenacity and resourcefulness. You’ve come through an economic tsunami that has claimed countless independent retailers - but not you. You may look at your finances and wonder if it’s all worth it, but your dream is still alive. You may be down on yourself for not generating the level of sales that you once did, but you’re still generating sales. For all that we’ve been through, and continue to go through, the usual measures of success need to be tempered - survival is a very good result

You’ve done a very good job!

So, if you’ve been a little hard on yourself, go easy. You’ve actually done a pretty remarkable job! How do I know? You’re still in business, like the independent retailers I talk to day in and day out. They recognize that they need to take their skills to the next level to get to a better place financially and get their businesses to where they want them to be. Now the task for you, as it is for them, is to chart the course that will lead you, and your business, to that better place, to realize your personal and financial objectives.

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