I am always amazed at how some people who are not in either a small business or in retail, think that running a shop is easy and not a lot of work. Sure, if you are simply buying product from Overseas and reselling it, it is probably not too much work, but then you still have the calculations, stress of importing, duties and customs clearance and the like.
But working retail is a proper business and the hours are long and some tasks arduous. It is not just sitting in a shop and selling to anyone who walks through the door. There is a lot more to it than that. From sourcing the raw materials, to manufacturing the product to a quality level you are happy with, to marketing, importing, setting up a website, social media and getting footfall to your store. As well as maintaining and training staff and constantly managing them, their needs and expectations, and having a company ethos that everyone buys into.
And special events during the year that are time consuming, such as Mother’s day, Father’s Day and Christmas, require hours of extra work and motivation. And yet, I love it and I am proud of my staff. I get such a kick when a customer tells me that they had the best service and were blown away by my staff going the extra mile for them.
The difficulty I sometimes face is that there is so much to do behind the scenes, that is difficult to concentrate on when you are often called to the shop floor by a customer. It is a stop start process which means that when doing the grind work like loading product and purchase orders into the system, total concentration is required. So I end up going into the shop at 6am to work through it.
And because it is the one aspect of my job that I find tedious, I can put it off for days yet when I finally sit down to do it, I always realise that it actually wasn’t that hard after all and I feel so chuffed that I have completed it. I guess it is kind of like when you wake up in the morning and know you’ve said to yourself that you will go to the gym but that temptation of staying in bed and rolling over is almost overwhelming. But if you do get yourself out of bed and exercise, the feeling of accomplishment lasts the whole day; you’re always pleased with yourself for the motivation to actually to it. You never say “I wished I hadn’t exercised this morning”. To remind yourself that the thought of the task is worse than actually doing it, is an important motivator for a small business owner. There isn’t anyone else at the moment who can load product into the system, and it has to be done, so you just have to motivate yourself to get off your lazy ass and do it. When I am procrastinating, I always say to myself “Just do It” – Nike got that right for sure!
And during those really busy times of the year where there seems to be an almost overwhelming amount of work to do and fewer hours in which to do it, work those extra hours in the early morning when there is no one around. The feeling of accomplishment and just putting your mind to it is worth the effort just as it is when you choose to get out of bed on a cold winter’s morning, and exercise. Remember the end game and how great you feel when you “Just do it”.