In our local hood, there were two stores. One, a chain that wasn’t very good but it was affordable and had a fairly large selection of goods. The other one was a poorly-run small family-owned operation that was over-priced with a limited selection but had a decent deli and butcher shop.
One day, the chain closed down. It was announced that the store would be demolished and a new one would go up.
The small store was thrilled. Now they were the only game in town – and they would capitalize on that.
They never cleaned up their store. The dairy case was often stocked with goods about to expire (these guys even sold Christmas candy well into spring). If they ran out of a product such as the wild tuna I liked, oftentimes that product didn’t get restocked…even after multiple requests. On occasion, we would come home and discover mold on some of the convenience items such as the hummus. The ceiling leaked on rainy days. Because of their limited selection, we often had to drive out of our way just to get the basics. And those prices? They never came down.
Worse yet, the owner seemed to have cockamamie ideas such as the wine bar he built and did nothing with. He turned that into a juice bar but then put a nasty old fridge in front of it so you didn’t even know it was there.
Rumor had it he was also not nice to his employees. They often grumbled about him to us under their breath.
But because he was the only store in the hood, he did well during this period and thought it would last forever.
Until the new store came.
The new one was two stories high with gleaming floors and a massive produce section. The butcher counter was stocked with an incredible selection of meats – in an air chilled case. The deli and cheese sections were filled to the brim with every thing you could imagine or want. At great prices too. There was a wine bar. And a juice bar. They had a huge bakery and a confection stand. The liquor section boasted all the best brands at rock-bottom prices. Every detail was handled beautifully.
We were thrilled to have everything we wanted under one roof – one clean, non-leaky one at that – with a staff that was eager to serve and friendly as can be. Plus the prices were so low, we began to save about $50.00 a week without even trying.
After about two weeks of blissful shopping, we visited the other store. Truthfully, we did miss the people who worked there. But the vibe was awful. No one smiled or bothered to say hello. It felt like a funeral.
I told my husband “they are doomed.”
We never set foot in there again.
Recently, the small store put out an announcement that they would be closing their doors. They blamed it on “circumstances beyond their control” and took a vague swipe at the big store. The kicker? The rumor mill said the employees found out the same day that the public did. Which shows you exactly how this place operated.
Instead of looking at themselves and what they could have done differently, they blamed someone else for their failure.
So why all this talk about grocery stores, you might ask?
Because there is a teachable moment in this.
No, it’s not about the “big guys” doing the “little guys” in. I’m a small DIY business owner and there are bigger corporate tarot businesses out there but we coexist without a problem.
The lesson is this: don’t blame someone else for your failure if you didn’t do the work.
That small store could have thrived if they handled it right. They could have played off the small size as an asset – perhaps as a speciality store. Smart marketing, good prices, strong (kind) management, loyalty cards, and wine tasting events would have kept the buzz going. Instead he did nothing except some half-assed attempts to create some sort of bar to nowhere.
I’ve seen this lack of responsibility show up again and again in failed businesses:
-Bitching about a coach when you didn’t do the work they assigned you.
-Getting mad at an e-course that didn’t deliver what you thought it would – when in reality, you didn’t bother to read the webcopy and see that it wasn’t geared towards you anyways.
-Griping about your peer’s success when you never market your business.
-Freaking out about the tax bill when you didn’t bother to put money aside.
-Blaming the economy when you fail to deliver a service in the time you promised.
And so on and so on.
Yes, acts of nature can happen. Bad luck does occur. And sometimes, a big business will muscle a little one out the door. But there are many things that you can control and your business can flourish if you start by taking responsibility.
For example, in our city, there is one small grocery store that has stood the test of time. It’s called Glorioso’s and it’s an Italian joint that has been around for ages. There are a few big stores that are close to them but it’s always packed in Glorioso’s. Why? Great service, quality food, decent prices, and cleanliness.
They’ve done what they can to remain a friendly neighborhood grocery store and they are not hurting for business. They are a perfect example of small done right.
Follow their example by:
-Keeping your business organized + clean. Your environment doesn’t need to be perfect but it should be welcoming .
-Serving people with a smile (unless they are a jerk – you have permission to refuse service for that).
-Create pricing that makes sense for your demographic.
-If you work with a coach, do the homework instead of bitching about the coach.
-Before you buy an e-course or sign up for any online course, read instructions carefully to make sure it’s the right class for you – and that you actually have the time to commit to the work. Not understanding what you’re buying or not showing up to do the work isn’t an excuse to bash the course. That’s on you, mate.
-Put money aside for taxes. File. Pay your damn taxes.
-Market consistently. It’s. Not. That. Hard. To. Be. Consistent, people.
-Treat your hired help with respect.
-Always act like a pro, even if your peers don’t. (The big store reached out to the employees of the small one to offer them jobs if they needed.)
So stop kavetching and blaming everyone else – and instead, start taking full responsibility today for every aspect of your work. It feels good. Plus, taking responsibility for your business means you also can take pride in your work and full credit when it succeeds.
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2017