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Commentary: The Business

Adam Graham: Shake It Up

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The Business: Shake it up

Don’t get stuck doing business “the way it’s always been done.”

BY ADAM GRAHAM

Published in the September 2012 issue

By nature, we are comfortable with routines. We like to put a plan in place and have things follow that plan, especially if that is how “it has always been done.”

You have, most likely, developed a routine in your business with what you buy, who you buy from, when you buy, when you hold events, what marketing you do, etc.

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This would be fine if everything around us stayed the same, but it doesn’t. Think of how things in everyday life have changed in the last 10 years; even the past five years with the emergence of smart phones and Facebook. How have you reacted to these external changes in the way you run your business?

I know it is tough to find time to really take a step back from your day-to-day work and look at opportunities for your business, but it is a necessary exercise. It may not be about how much money you are spending, but rather if you should be spending that money on more effective products, events and marketing efforts.

Are you still doing the diamond margin battle with e-commerce sites? Or have you begun to diversify your merchandise mix with more margin-friendly and unique colored gemstones and pearls? Have you had the same event with the same charity on the same weekend forever? Maybe it is time for you to get involved with new groups (and new potential clients)? And are you still running that same quarter page newspaper ad that you have for the past 20 years, when maybe you could be saving that money and spending more time embracing the opportunities with social media?

Once you have made up your mind to make that change, what is your decision-making process in taking the next step? It is really important to be able to evaluate your business as objectively as possible.

Put yourself in the role of an outside consultant and look at your business the way they would. What is your stock turn? Are your margins what they should be to be profitable? How effective are your marketing efforts? What are the results for the events you host or participate in? You may realize that your first step in this process is putting a system in place to collect this information in order to make these decisions easier.

The reason for this column is not really to tell you how you need to run your business, just that it is an important exercise for you to stop and examine what it is you are doing every once in a while. This is especially true with the changes in the shopping and buying habits of your clients, and potential clients, over the past few years. There are plenty of great ideas in the pages of this magazine each month, pick one and give it a try. Doing things “the way they have always been done” is probably not your most effective strategy for the future success of your business.

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Adam Graham is the marketing manager for AGTA. Contact him at [email protected].

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