Friday, September 23, 2016

One of my Small Business Survivalist Handbook chapters is about burn-out, which I think afflicts most owners after a few years.

My basic job as a storekeeper is to go to work every day, to keep the location clean and tidy, to deal with customers, and to order and then stock material.

These are the bare essentials.

Guess what? I'm usually not able to accomplish those tasks within store hours. Much of my ordering takes place extracurricular.  Most of my day is taken up dealing with customers.

So imagine, if you will, all the services and events and promotions that most stores are expected to provide.

Hiring someone to help doesn't make it any simpler. I've never done a more complicated thing than hiring another person, who comes with their own complexities. In fact, I think it takes twice as much work to train a person as to do it myself.

Once they're trained, they still have to be paid. If you have a Mom and Pop sized business, chances are whatever extra profits you generate by having help will be soaked up by said help.

So all the advice that most business books give about how to add more service to your business is almost guaranteed to burn out the owner. Each little thing may not seem like much, but they rapidly accumulate and most of them can't be taken back once they are offered.

This goes for anything extra you might be tempted to do. Sell online? Extra. And you'll be competing with people who do it full time.

It's always been kind of an insult when someone thinks they can buy a business and do it outside their regular work. Do they think their store will be any less intensive than the job they're already doing? 

Keep it simple, and only add complexities once you're certain you can keep up--if then. If you are honest and reliable and helpful and carry the stuff people want, then you are doing your job.

Adding coffee to your store isn't required.

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