Welcome to #InspireAfricaProject! Most business owners are stuck because they failed to upgrade their knowledge. Some employees have become unemployable because their ideas cannot compete favorably in this fast paced, ever changing period of human history. They failed to understand that the real currency in this century is not necessarily money, but knowledge.
If you fail to upgrade your knowledge in the 21st century, you will soon be out of business. If all you know are the things someone taught you thirty years ago, you have already constructed the highway that will usher in stagnation. That’s why I keep saying that wealth creation has moved from the biceps to the brain. It’s no longer how strong you are physically, but how smart you are mentally.
Successful people live with these questions: “How can I improve the quality of my performance? How can I do better?” Absolute perfection in all human undertakings from building missiles to rearing children is naturally unattainable. This means there is endless room for improvement. Successful people know this, and they are always searching for a better way. They don’t ask, “Can I do it better?” He knows he can. So he phrases the question: “How can I do it better?”
David J. Schwartz shared this life changing experience. “A few months ago, a former student of mine, in business for just four years, opened her fourth hardware store. This was quite a feat, considering the young lady’s small initial capital investment of only $3,500, strong competition from other stores, and the relatively short time she had been in business.
I visited her new store shortly after it opened to congratulate her on the fine progress she had made. In an indirect way I asked her how she was able to make a success of three stores and opened a fourth one when most merchants had to struggle to make a success of just one store.
“Naturally,” she answered, “I worked hard, but just getting up early and working late isn’t responsible for the four stores. Most people in my business work hard. The main thing I attribute my success to is my self-styled ‘weekly improvement program.'”
“A weekly improvement program? Sounds impressive. How does it work?” I asked. “Well, it really isn’t anything elaborate,” she continued, “it’s just a plan to help me do a better job as each week rolls around. To keep my forward thinking on track, I’ve divided my job into four elements: customers, employees, merchandise, and promotion. All during the week I make notes and jot down ideas as to how I can improve my business.
Then, every Monday evening, I set aside four hours to review the ideas I’ve jotted down and figure out how to put the solid ones to use in the business. In this four-hour period I force myself to take a hard look at my operation. I don’t simply wish more customers would shop in my store. Instead I ask myself, ‘What can I do to attract more customers?’ ‘How can I develop regular, loyal customers?’
She went on describing numerous little innovations that made her first three stores so successful: things like the way she arranged the merchandise within her stores, her suggestion-selling technique that sold two out of three customers merchandise they had not planned to buy when they entered her stores, the credit plan she devised when many of her customers were out of work because of a strike, the contest she developed that boasted sales during a slack season.
“I asked myself, ‘What can I do to improve my merchandise offerings?’ and I get ideas. Let me cite just one case. Four weeks ago, it occurred to me that I should do something to get more youngsters into the store, I reasoned, if I had something here to draw the kids to the store, I’d also draw more of the parents. I kept thinking about it, and then this idea came: put in a line of small carded toys for children in the four-to-eight age bracket. It’s working!
The toys take little space and I make a nice profit on them. But, more important, the toys have increased store traffic.” “Believe me,” she went on, “my weekly improvement plan works. Just by conscientiously asking myself, ‘How can I do a better job?’ I find the answers. It’s a rare Monday night that I don’t come up with some plan or technique that makes that profit and loss statement look better.
And I have learned something else too about successful merchandising, something that I think every person going into business for himself should know. “What’s that?” I asked. “Just this: it isn’t so much what you know when you start that matters. It’s what you learn and put to use after you open your doors that counts.”
What a fantastic story. Whenever I tell business owners to invest in time-tested knowledge, they feel I want them to patronize our Consulting Firm, or to purchase our books and CDs. But the truth is, the height of your business is dependent on the depth of your insight on business.
I went to the store of a young man who just opened for business few months ago. When I got there, he complained bitterly that customers were not coming into his store. Then I asked about the strategies he put in place to attract the customers. He said, “Well nothing. I believe by faith that they would come.” Out of pity I shared many sales strategies with him.
I have always maintained that I believe in miracle, favour and blessings from the depth of my heart, but I also believe in applying time-tested principles. Dear friend, there are proven ways to attract customers and grow your business. Prophecy and anointing oil is not enough. You must learn these secrets otherwise your business will not grow. Make plans to attend the next Inspire Africa Project Conference that will be taking place in Lagos, to learn some of these secrets. Contact our organization to design a time-tested strategies to help you grow your company. Take Entrepreneurship Course at Uncommon Wisdom Academy. Kindly call Godwin on 07032681154 to start immediately.
Always remember that big success calls for persons who continually set high standards for themselves and others; persons who are searching for ways to increase efficiency, to get more output at lower cost, do more with less effort. Success in business and in every area of life is reserved for those who continuously upgrade their knowledge. No wonder General Electric said, “Progress is our most important product.” Wisdom is profitable to direct!
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