It is easy for business owners to see and want those great new things that surround us.
Yet those shiny new things may not be what the business owner needs at that moment or maybe ever. Shiny new things cost money and may take more time. Owners must decide if those are things that he or she can afford.
So what things do I mean? It can take all kinds of shapes and forms. Often it begins with some item we want to use in the business such as a new cash register or a new desk. It could be big, think new store or vehicle, or small, maybe some new pictures for the wall. Today, often the things we want come from the technology world. No matter what we buy in the world of technology, there will be something faster, easier to use, and just simply higher on the cool factor scale than what we currently have.
There is nothing that will stop as from having these feelings. For many, we seemed conditioned to want the next best thing. Marketing certainly encourages us along those lines. Plus we always have our peers and friends who either have or are looking at something new and better.
So why bring this up?
The simple fact is that business success, in many cases, does not depend on having the greatest or newest or best technology, physical location, or marketing tools. Such things make look great and make you feel good but do they add to your bottom line.
A savvy business owner must be constantly in touch with the financial and management sides of the business. Decisions on these great new items should raise the question of how they will add profits, reduce expenses or save time allowing you, the owner, to do other things or to allow you not to hire another person. So the first question is “do you need it at all?”
If you should decide a change is needed, then ask yourself if you need the top-of-the-line or will a lower grade model work, maybe even last year’s model or a reconditioned unit. Some stores I have visited have used cast-off items and cleverness to be the best display cases you will ever see (think a claw-foot bathtub painted and filled with brightly colored yarn as one knitting shop did).
Going one step further, do you even need to own the item? Do you have options? Can you rent it, get access to it through bartering, or hire someone who has one to do the task?
Dollars are typically in short supply in a small business. Businesses need to get the most out of everyone. In the first five years, the odds of staying open are against the owner. And even after that time, the owner must focus on efficiency.
There are thousands of new bright shiny things out there. As a business owner, understand and distinguish between want and need as you make decisions.
And never let the bottom line out of your thoughts.
- About the Author
- Latest by this Author
Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.