We believe that each of us and our businesses can improve and that we should strive to be the best version of ourselves. Here are our Practical Solutions and advice that you can apply in your business to improve your performance. These come from real work and life experiences and it would be great to hear from you so if you have any comments or any advice of your own we would love to hear from you.
Here are some of top tips on making conscious decisions based on real facts. Whilst we love decisions made from passion and gut reaction, and we should never lose those, many decisions we make can be deep routed from data.
"Look beyond the surface data"
When looking at performance results make sure you look at the whole picture and dig deep. It is all too easy to see and latch onto the quick answer and then go about our other duties, when important insight can be deduced from a little more digging. Last year after a hot bank holiday weekend the business we were working with celebrated a strong weekend of garden sales, if you remember it came late last year, and everyone was happy. But was the performance as good as it could have been. We then dug a little deeper and looked for opportunities that were missed. We analysed whether the advertising had been compelling, how the proposition stacked up to the competition and whether logistically we had serviced all the customers requirements…and we found key learnings that would improve performance for the next peak weekend. Especially in a situation where you have had a good result we often do not take time to study, remember it is cheaper and more effective to maximise the sales from the customers that are in your store than the effort you have to put in to acquire new ones.
"Test in order to Learn"
Whilst businesses need intelligent thinking and structured planning, don’t forget the benefits of learning by trial and error in order to pressure test your initiatives and to learn through testing. Where you can like a science experiment conduct AB testing, which means you have a “Control Group” and the “Test Group”. This allows you to understand and see clearly whether your initiative or idea has had an effect by comparing the two. Only then can you understand the true incremental impact of what you are doing and whether it is worth it. Remember to look at the surrounding areas for signs that your initiative has had an impact in other areas… One learning of ours was after putting a promotion in place on a product range that looked good on paper from the line by line results, but on reflection the surrounding products dropped in sales as a result and overall category impact suggested the promotion was not successful at all.
“Learn from failure”
Learn how to embrace failure…don’t be one of those businesses who only see the negative aspect of failure. There is a lot that can be learned from things that do not go the way you planned. If you are willing to accept that not all things go the way you have planned and take the learnings you will continue to improve. We remember a talented CEO we worked with said "retail does not happen in a straight line" and he was right. Remember it took more than 3000 attempts to get the lightbulb right and 40 versions for WD40 to get the right formulae…so thank goodness they learnt from failure or we would be in a dark and squeaky place right now. Next time something does not go the way you expected take the time to deep dive in to the detail, find the root cause and importantly find out how to do it better next time. Challenge your decisions and see the positive and move forward.
“It is all in the execution”
So when you are learning from looking beyond the surface data, testing in order to progress and taking on the valuable lessons from failure when things do not go as planned, make sure your execution is spot on. So much effort can go into the planning, thinking and testing but it can all fail through poor execution. Remember to dedicate quality time on scheduling how initiatives will be implemented, executed and your step by step expectations. Set clear milestones and track and monitor them so that you and your teams know when you are delivering on the original expectations…it also gives you that chance to celebrate success when it comes and that is the good bit right!
Clive & Kerry Daley
“Helping you bring about real change”