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Publisher’s Note: Sharpen Your Ax

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Take time to pause and hone your competitive edge.

BY DAN KISCH

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of INSTORE.


There is a great parable about a young man in the Pacific Northwest who went looking for a job with a logging crew. The foreman asked him to cut down a tree, which the young man did in remarkable time and was immediately hired.

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At the end of his fourth day on the job, the foreman told him to pick up his check — he was fired. “Why?” the young man asked.

“Because even though you were doing great at the beginning of the week you’ve fallen far behind the pace of the rest of the crew,” the foreman replied.
“I don’t understand,” exclaimed the young man. “I arrive before everyone else, work hard throughout the day and even work through my coffee breaks.”

The foreman asked, “Have you been sharpening your ax?”

“No, sir,” the young man replied. “I’ve been working too hard to take time out for that.” /p>

Now that you’ve gotten through a (hopefully) terrific holiday season and you’ve completed your annual inventory, it’s a perfect time to start sharpening your ax for an even better 2015. You need to examine everything in your store from merchandise to marketing, figure out what is working and, more important, what isn’t, and put a plan in place to make the changes you need.

&#8220Examine everything
from merchandise

to marketing. &#8221

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This is far from an easy task. It takes courage, determination and patience. Most of all it takes honesty. Many of us have a tendency to excuse lapses in performance with outside influences. Rarely, however, is that the case. If you identify the weaknesses you can find the cures.

Seeking ideas from outside sources is a good habit, and this issue of INSTORE is a good place to start. Our feature “Dump Your Dogs,” will give you great strategies for moving out the old so you can get just the right product mix for your store. And the SMART Show Supplement will give you plenty of ideas on how to start planning your trade show strategies this spring.

Right now there is no more precious mineral in your store than your whetstone. Hone your tools often and give yourself a true competitive edge in 2015.

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