January 8, 2009
News & Opinion: Fine Tune Your Company
Here's an example of leading your company through the woods. My daughter has a small clothing shop in Missouri. It could be struggling. Upscale clothes are not a necessity, especially in a recession. As a business owner, she can have one of two attitudes: the woe-is-me, the-markets-are-so-bad attitude. Or the what-can-I-do-to-get-people-in-my-store attitude. She chose the latter. Her answer was to make her seven employees financially literate. She now has seven people who think like her. Instead of telling them how to arrange skirts and bras, she is telling them about inventory turns and margins and the relation between the two. Now it's the associates who are selling. It isn't a result of more money in advertising or marketing. It took me three years and a lot of persuading to get her to do this, but she finally has. In October 2007, the business did $55,000 in sales. In 2008, in this climate, it did $81,000. Those numbers say it all.
Other respondents include Chip Conley, author of Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow (runner-up in the New Perspectives category of our 2007 Business Book awards), John Mackey of Whole Foods and Bernie Marcus of Home Depot. You'll either have to pick up the magazine to read the rest or wait until it's published online, because they still have the December issue up on the website.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.