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David Brown

David Brown: Rewards of Ownership




Are you getting what you should be getting out of your job?


Published in the July 2013 issue

Owning a business can be a futile exercise if the return on the money invested and the time you put in doesn’t add up.

Often getting into self-employment can be an emotional decision rather than a logical one, driven by a desire to get away from pain (an unenjoyable job) rather than a move toward pleasure. Many people lack the necessary skills to work effectively at this level. It has to be said, however, that few people who become self-employed ever have a desire to go back to working for someone else — the pluses do outweigh the minuses.

But many jewelers don’t receive sufficient return for all the hours of effort and the dollars of working capital that are invested in their business. Here’s a quick exercise using a hypothetical store:

A business owner is earning $70,000. But if that owner has invested $250,000 in buying the business and expects a risk-assessed return of 25 percent, then that will account for $62,300 ($250,000 x 25%) of the income. The remaining balance is all that is left as a return on the effort put in.


Could this owner find someone to manage his store for $7,500 a year? Not likely! Yet many owners ask this of themselves every year. This person is not earning nearly enough for his labors and initial investment. All he has succeeded in doing is to buy himself a job — and a poor paying one at that!

Could this owner find someone to manage his store for $7,500 a year? Not likely! Yet many owners ask this of themselves every year.

The biggest difference between a successful store owner and an unsuccessful one is the ability of the owner to concentrate on the important rather than the urgent. To do this, you need to plan and to constantly ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time?”

Here are a few guidelines to help make your time more productive:

Step 1 On Sunday night, review all goals and priorities for the week ahead. At times like this, it’s not all about reducing costs; it’s about setting goals to increase profit margins, clear aged inventory, increase sales, improve team communication, reorder fast sellers and so on.

Step 2 Prioritize. Choose one or two tasks that can make the greatest amount of difference in the shortest amount of time.


Step 3 Plan when to take action on these tasks. Break tasks down into one-hour blocks. Anyone can find an hour to concentrate on a key task, but many jewelers struggle to find three hours in a busy day. Choose a time with the fewest interruptions.

Step 4 Plan where to take action. Choose somewhere private with no distractions and with all of the things required to complete the task. Sometimes doing important tasks at home first thing each day is more effective than trying to do them at the store.

Step 5 Delegate the task. Wherever possible, give things to someone else to free up time to move to the next item of business. Delegation is not abdication.

Step 6 Use discipline and self-control to follow through and complete each task. Mark it off and celebrate any successes with a coffee and a five-minute break.

Step 7 Repeat these steps each week and review them each day.

Careful planning can make all the difference to the rewards an owner can get. Take the time to plan. The results will speak for themselves.


David Brown is president of the Edge Retail Academy, an organization devoted to the ongoing measurement and growth of jewelry store performance and profitability. For further information about the Academy’s management mentoring and industry benchmarking reports contact or Phone toll free (877) 5698657



When the Kids Have Their Own Careers, Wilkerson Can Help You to Retire

Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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