Monday, January 12, 2015

Counting dresses one by one, e i e i oh . . . .

Ah the new year's eve. That time when people get together with friends, celebrate the end of one year and the start of the next, count their inventory.. .

What? You don't spend New Year's Eve and New Year's Day counting inventory???

One of the more "fun" [if your definition of fun includes complicated computer programs, mile long spreadsheets and hours of squinting at tiny little 'style codes' for hours on end] challenges of retail is keeping track of your inventory. I don't know about other stores, but in my store I have about 3000 SKU's (items unique enough they have their own item code) that we keep track of. Many of those are one of's. i.e. wedding gowns, bridesmaid and grad gown samples, that sort of thing. It takes me two days to prep the counting lists, 6 people a day and a half to count it all and another 2 or 3 days for me to go through everything that doesn't jive and figure out why. It is not my first choice of how I would spend my New Year's, that's for sure.

But weirdly, once it's all done, I love it! I love all the information I have at my disposal once the end of each year counts and accounting are done. What sold? What didn't? Did anything major change since last year? Then the fun one, why? For me, looking over the numbers and finding the patterns and figuring out the why's are one of the best things about being an entrepreneur. ('cause trust me on this, the pay cheque and hours sure aren't! :-) )

Being able to look at my numbers, to understand them and what they mean and why they are, it gives me a great sense of control. Not necessarily peace, because being a small business means those numbers are not always happy numbers. But when it comes to your business financials, what you don't know CAN hurt you. Having this information makes it much easier to make major, and minor, financial decisions.

My 'entrepreneurial tip of the day': Know your numbers. You don't need to be a 'bean counter', but if you are a small business owner, whomever counts your beans needs to be your best friend. Because they know stuff.

Important stuff.

Like if you might actually get to take a vacation this year!

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