By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
Recently, I found myself fighting a nasty cold, and as always, expected it to be over in a day or two. No need to see a doctor, no drugs; just some rest and hydration. Boy, was I wrong. I woke up on the third day with absolutely no hearing in my left ear!
A friend told me that it was temporary as it had happened to her and her husband a few weeks earlier so I didn’t do anything about it. Again my mistake. Day 5 came and I finally went to urgent care since my 2 day cold was lasting a bit too long and my hearing had not returned. I was then sent to see a specialist, and after 6 weeks of doctors visits, an MRI, blood work and lots of prayer, I was told that I had lost 98% of my hearing in that ear and it would never come back.
Why am I sharing something so personal with you? Not for sympathy, but so you will hopefully learn from my mistake. Instead of listening to the signs my body was telling me and seeking out medical advice sooner than later, I acted like it was no big deal and waited for it to just go away on its own. The issue with my ear, like problems with your business won’t always just go away.
If you start to see issues in your business, don’t wait; acknowledge there’s something wrong, seek out a solution or get professional advice before it gets worse or before its too late. Leaning on the support of your buying group and the programs they offer is a great place to start. You can also ask for help from other members in your group who’ve experienced similar challenges, or you can go right to the experts that partner with your group who are there to help you solve these problems.
Whatever you do, don’t let your business go one day without the proper care it needs to survive and thrive.
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
There’s a topic of discussion that I know many independent retailers and small business owners deal with day in and day out, yet no one seems to really talk about. And that is--the challenges and benefits of working with family and friends. At the end of the day, it’s these close-knit relationships and the level of trust and loyalty formed (or not) throughout the years that will impact the state of the business at any given time.
Think about it, how can a business thrive if the owner (father) or store manager (son) is dealing with a chronic illness? Who will do the accounting when the bookkeeper (daughter) is struggling with the first few months of motherhood? I know, every company deals with these kinds of issues. However, when the owner, store manager or accountant is your family member, decisions on who should take their place or how to keep their jobs in tack when they return become a little more sensitive.
As a family owned business you have the opportunity to be reminded each and every day that relationships are what matters and that “humanness” in business is important. This makes us better managers and ultimately better people because well, we can’t just fire our brother for losing a truckload of furniture, now can we? Instead, we stand by them when they fail and celebrate their accomplishments. We don’t schedule our top sales person to work every Saturday when we know he’s been recently divorced and the weekends are the only time he has with his kids. We let our employees take time off for doctor’s appointments, birthdays and vacations because we understand that their health, wellness and happiness will impact how much they are able to give and be present when they return to work.
So, yes, sometimes our businesses may temporarily suffer because of how closely our relationships are interwoven into them. But most of the time, these relationships are the foundation, the very reason why we flourish.
To family and friendships,