Rather Read The Episode? Click Here.
In almost 36 years– it’s hard for me to even say that. But in almost 36 years of retail, I have observed thousands of independent retailers and what I’ve found is that there are 12 traits of super successful independent retailers and if you want to know what they are so that you can benefit from this information this episode is for you.
So for 19 years, I owned the Mackinaw Kite company. My own retail business for almost 17 years. I’ve been here at WhizBang! Retail Training and I’ve worked with and talked to and spoken in front of literally tens of thousands of independent retailers. And the best of the best are this– the 1st trait is that they are brave.
To open a store, or to buy an existing retail business, or to take over an existing family retail business takes courage. And you have to bring courage every single day when you’re an independent retailer don’t you? There’s payroll to meet. There’s cash flow issues. There’s staff problems that you don’t want to deal with, but you have to be brave. You have to have courage and the best independent retailers are brave. They have courage. And because they are brave, they have confidence.
Confidence is the 2nd trait. You see courage is like a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger it is. And the more you fight through the fear and do what you need to do the more confident you become in your abilities, in your mentalities, in your mindset. So the best independent retailers are brave and confident. They’re also proactive.
Being proactive is the 3rd trait. The best independent retailers don’t wait for things to come to them. They bring it. If something needs to be done, they do it. They find a way to make things happen. And not only do they find a way to make things happen, they take responsibility.
Responsibility is the 4th trait. They understand that what happens good and bad is a result of the decisions they make, the actions they take, and the way that they think. They don’t blame the economy. They don’t blame the government. They don’t blame their vendors. They understand that it’s on them. Which leads to the 5th trait.
They’re problem solvers because the best independent retailers are taking responsibility, they know that if things aren’t working the way they are supposed to they have to go out and find a way to make it better. When things aren’t right, they make them right. They find a way to solve the problems. Which leads to the 6th trait.
They’re learners. You see almost anybody can figure something out with brute force, with effort, with time. But the best retailers recognize that someone has done it before them. They recognize if there’s ideas out there that can bring them to the next level. They recognize that they don’t know everything, so they go to the best conferences, they read all the best books, they invest in the right programs and products and services. They’re always learning and because they’re always learning they are constantly improving.
And constantly improving is the 7th trait of great independent retailers. They’re always getting better. Getting better is part of their retailer’s DNA. They’re never satisfied. They always want better. They want a better team. They want better displays. They want better profits. They want to have more fun. They want to give their customers a better experience. So that challenge of improving is what drives them. It makes them great.
It also leads them to the 8th trait which is they embrace change. You know retail is changing at the speed of light right now, and the best independent retailers do not fight it. They don’t live in the past. They recognize that the future is theirs to own if they just go out and grab it. So change is part of their entrepreneurial DNA. They recognize that change represents opportunity, and they are willing to grasp that golden ring.
The 9th trait is that they keep score. They’re very, very clear about what they’re trying to do and they’re making sure that they are making definite steps towards it. They look at their numbers. They manage their inventory. They pay attention to the ROI from their marketing. They pay attention to what their team is doing. They keep score. They understand that if you measure it you can manage it. And if you manage it, you can improve it.
The 10th trait is my favorite. I love independent retailers. I especially love successful independent retailers, and the most successful independent retailers are generous. They understand that they are part of something bigger than themselves and they are anxious and willing and enthusiastic about giving back. They give back to their community. They’re generous with their associates and their team members. They’re generous with their customers. Generosity and reciprocity are part of the way that they think and act and they understand it intuitively.
The 11th trait is they take the long view. They recognize that Rome wasn’t built in a day. A training program isn’t built in an afternoon. That a customer is more than a transaction. A customer represents lifetime value. They understand that if you do a promotion once and it’s not as good as it could be that if they stay with it that in a couple of years that promotion is going to be awesome. So they’re past thinking in the moment and they’re looking at the future.
The 12th is that they work hard. The best independent retailers work hard and I might add work smart. But they’re willing to do the work. They’re willing to put in the long hours. They understand that hard work pays off.
And then here’s the bonus trait. The best independent retailers not only work hard but they play hard. They understand that their business serves them. They understand that they’re putting in all this work. They’re putting all this energy. That they’re devoting so much time and passion into this thing and that it should serve them. That they deserve vacations. Nice vacations, long vacations that they deserve the best that life has to offer. And because they’ve made the investment up front, they have no problem having a good time at the end.
So there it is. 12 traits of the most successful independent retail business owners with the bonus. The bonus of play hard. So here’s your action plan should you choose to accept it. I’d like you to take out a piece of paper and go through this video again and rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 for each of the 13 traits. How do you stack up? What is your score? Because let’s remember again that if you can measure it you can manage it. If you can manage it, you can improve it. And if you start to be better, to work harder, to do more, you’re going to have a more successful business and a better life.
So I hope you found it helpful. If you haven’t signed up for our WhizBang! tip of the week yet, I’d encourage you to go to whizbangtraining.com and sign up. Every Wednesday, you’re going to get great information in your inbox. Information that will help you grow a better business. So as always, I appreciate your likes, your comments, your shares. And I’m Bob Negen and I’ll see you next time.