Friday, November 2, 2012

Game Store Delegation (Tradecraft)

No, not like that
Everyone knows of that immigrant couple that works seven days a week, 365 days a year in their restaurant, gas station or liquor store. But how often does their menu change? How many times each week does a customer come in and ask what's new in Chinese cuisine? Or request that new 93 octane fuel formulation? Or want to learn the new paradigm in alcoholic beverages  I applaud hard work, but the game store owner job is amazingly more dynamic than most small businesses. You need to get away to recharge. To get away, you need to delegate.

Delegation is where you learn if you've been working in your business or on your business. If you can't delegate because everything goes to hell in a handbasket when you're gone, you've been working in your business, doing the tasks that less qualified staff could be handling. Your process sucks. If nothing else, you should take time off just to test your processes. What areas need work? Where were communication breakdowns? I still have issues getting invoices to appear in my inbox on orders that arrive while I'm out of the store. That's process in need of improvement, my primary job, working on my business.

But I can't afford to delegate you say. I'm barely getting by as it is. I would argue it's probably because of burnout and lack of new ideas. Getting away, not just playing games in the back, or going to trade shows or conventions, allows you to recharge. You're not serving your customers off a Chinese menu, you're in a dynamic field that's constantly changing, meaning you've got constant opportunities and ever changing problems in need of creative solutions. If you're permanently stuck in Moo Shu Pork mode, how will you gather the energy necessary to keep up on what's happening? How will you know if your processes work if your employees are just warming your seat? To use another small business cliche, do you own your business, or does your business own you?

Now is the time to do it, to get away, to find some quiet time before the holidays hit. Afterwards is fine too, but coming into the holidays fresh is a big advantage. Most stores have had great Summers, and if you're like me, you came out of it a little shell shocked. Our September-October sales pattern resembled a December-January, extremely high, followed by a modest return to normal. These cycles are stressful, so break your Moo-Shu pattern and get away. It's not an indulgence, it's your job.

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