Hardware Retailing

DEC 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | December 2018 10 W ith the publication of this year's Market Measure report, beginning on Page 24, you will undoubtedly find a variety of ways to see how your business measures up to the competition. Usually, in this month's column, I encourage you to browse all these numbers and start the new year with a renewed commitment to tracking your own performance. I usually say how important it is to use NRHA's Cost of Doing Business Study as a guideline for your operation. And I have no doubt used numerous references to drive the point home about how important it is that you closely examine the numbers found within your own income statements and balance sheets. Well, not this year. Nope. I'm not going to say a thing about how the only way you can grow your operation is by taking a cold, hard look at your numbers and making a commitment to incrementally improve those key profit variables. Instead, I'm going to focus on how important it is to look at the things within your business that just can't be measured. I want to talk about things that can't be evaluated by gleaning data from a spreadsheet or off a calculator. The truth is, the majority of all the independent home improvement retail operations in this industry are family businesses. Sometimes, we put way too much emphasis on the second word in that description and forget about the first. That's right. Unlike a corporation with anonymous shareholders and interests around the globe, chances are, your business is made up of family. That's not to say that every family business has aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters working inside the operation. The real definition of a family business is that the owners (at least one of them) works daily in the operation. But as you likely know, a real family business extends beyond bloodlines. I talk to so many independent retailers who tell me that their employees and their communities are "just like one big family." As we enter into this holiday season, in an era when everything seems to be pitting us against each other and it is far too common to measure our worth in dollars and cents rather than goodwill and charity, let's not forget why this industry is so different. Each and every one of your operations is different because it is a family business and, like it or not, families take care of each other, look out for each other's best interests and even tolerate each other's idiosyncrasies. That's why, this year, I'm not going to encourage you to spend the next few weeks poring over your financial statements. Instead, I am going to encourage you to spend the next few weeks truly enjoying that other part of your enterprise: the family part of your business. I want you to shake your customers' hands a little more firmly, buy a round of hot chocolate for your staff, and make a vow to not talk about business at the dinner table for at least a few nights. After a few weeks of that, feel free to dive back into the bean-counting, but try, at least for a while, to remember how important the family part of your business can be and why it makes you, your company and our industry so different from the corporate world. Happy holidays! Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher dant@nrha.org Let's Put Away the Spreadsheets Taking Care of Business " Remember how important the family part of your business can be and why it makes you, your company and our industry so different from the corporate world. "

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