THE BIG SURVEY 2017

'What was I thinking?'

While independent jewelers are an astute bunch, sometimes the most obvious things about your business can be hard to discern.

In our recent Big Survey, we asked readers, "What in your jewelry life did it take you a surprisingly long time to realize?"

One respondent had overlooked the perks of owning a business: “I own the business. I can take Saturdays off, and if there is an event, I could get away with wearing something special from my inventory and not get into trouble with me, myself and I.”


SEE MORE BIG SURVEY 2017 STORIES


Tricky pronunciations also have posed a stumbling block for some: “Peridot. It has a silent T.”

Below is a selection of answers we received. You can see all the results of the 2017 Big Survey in the October edition of INSTORE.

  • I seem to interchange “bail” and “bale” in writing repair slips. I noticed this 31 years after opening this store.
  • Taxable/non-taxable sales — reported them incorrect for years.
  • I discovered that I could just say no to projects that hoover up all of my time.

    Pronouncing the term “kiln.” I thought it ended with an m.
  • Pronouncing peridot (it has a silent t).
  • Retipping — often it is easier to sell them a new mount.
  • More concerned with the top line than gross profit. GP is everything.
  • I realized that I never asked for the sale. It’s an odd thing to think you have done wrong for so long. We are taught how to sell and how to sell well but after an excellent, or not so excellent, sales presentation, I do not ask for the sale. What was I thinking?
  • I own the business. I can take Saturdays off, and if there is an event, I could get away with wearing something special from my inventory and not get into trouble with me, myself and I.
  • Pricing estate items in an appraisal too high.
  • Most estates sold items for less than the value I thought they would sell for.
  • Quickbooks. We had a bookkeeper help set up our business, and it took a real accountant four years to iron out those bugs.
  • Realizing it’s OK to send out work.
  • Thirty or so years to learn how to relax.
  • Did not buy gold early enough before 2008.
  • Asking for better prices and terms. It is available! Just have to ask.
  • Sucking up to brands. Wanting them so bad only to find that I have another entity to satisfy.
  • Not hiring the best salesperson.
  • I could work 24/7 and still not get everything done. Take time off to relax! Everything will still be there when you get back.
  • Selling things too cheap to get an edge.
  • That I’m in charge and I guide the client and transaction.
  • Quit trying to compete with the Big Boys and find another way.
  • Thinking that the customer was always right.
  • Selling diamonds by talking about diamond grade primarily.
  • That is wasn’t so important that everything was done my way. There are some very talented employees who have some great ideas and alternative ways of doing things.
  • Ordering too much inventory at a time; now I order small amounts from vendors more often.
  • It took me 30 years to realize I wasn’t charging enough for repairs. I was always charging my customers $8-12 for a solder, $20-25 to size a gold ring, $6-7 to re-tip a prong. Now I am charging double, triple and even quadruple the amount. Maybe one in 50 people question me; however, my repair business and custom design business has grown immensely over the past 6.5 years.
  • Using a prong lifter — proper technique was on YouTube.
  • Not employing enough staff. Thought more staff equals higher wage bill, more expenditure in both time and money, yet getting the right balance has made the business grow, become more profitable and given me more time personally.
  • Tracking findings, stones, and metal inventory properly.
  • Not using a flex shaft tool way, way sooner.
  • Not hanging onto Christmas cash enough.
  • Over-explaining repair situations to clients. They don’t want to feel scolded!
  • Selling what I liked instead of what customers wanted.
  • I made the mistake of being a bench jeweler, owner, sales marketer and taking charge of all financials. I should have brought in a vested partner to handle the business end of the store. I am better at the bench.
  • Being too friendly with customers.
  • Retirement planning.
  • Not taking enough money out to put into an IRA.
  • Measuring success.
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