Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Tacos and the Wizard (Tradecraft)

Stick to the plan. That was my mantra the first year in business. I had a solid business plan for a solid retail store. It was planned to be better than the other stores, with better service, friendlier, cleaner and better inventory that I thought everyone would want (I was so wrong on the inventory). When you're struggling, which includes everyone in their first year, it's easy to want to deviate from the plan. If the plan is good, tweak your operation, but avoid deviation. That's the theme of the Make More Tacos post by Seth Godin today, which could easily sum up a solid retail operation:
  • Keep the place clean
  • Hire friendly staff
  • Make better tacos
  • Offer a fun, connected, even memorable experience

Of course you can fail for reasons out of your control, like a bad location or an economic downturn, but for the most part, a strong retail establishment has these taco making ingredients. It would be easy to want to jump to "next tier" thinking, like opening a coffee shop, or diversifying into something unrelated, or opening an online store; questioning the plan. However, it really comes down to cleanliness, friendly staff, solid product options, and that Third Place theory of a fun and memorable experience.

If you're looking at this blog from the outside, you must wonder sometimes what's the big deal? It's a store. There have been merchants selling stuff for thousands of years. Is there anything new under the sun when it comes to retail? You could argue setting up a reasonably good store, as has been done for those thousands of years, is 90% of what it takes to be successful. That's probably true. It's just that other 10% is the difference between success and failure with the Internet pounding at the door. Imagine being the only game store in town, but half of your potential customers have discovered a wizard who will magically make their games appear at their front door. The other 10% of what we talk about is how you combat the wizard, honing those taco making skills.

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