How to Be Immune to Uncertainty

image of immunityThe elections are growing nearer, and the topic is everywhere you look. Business, media and dozens of other daily tasks are going mobile at astounding speed, and in addition to all of the other causes of distraction, retailers are on the cusp of the holiday buying season. When the Wall Street Journal and Vistage conducted a survey of nearly 800 small business CEOs a few weeks ago, it was found that a mere 37 percent planned to increase spending over the next year. Some retailers reported having a difficult time deciphering the horizon for their companies, and planning cycles have become shorter, overall. This approach to business can be more of a hindrance than it helps, however, and for retailers looking to advance in 2013, there are three key points essential to staying the course and building business value.

Don’t confuse an idea with a strategy. In capricious times, uncertainty of the future often persuades business leaders to remain noncommittal, so as to avoid having plans thrown awry. While a flexible approach has its benefits, it is important to develop more than a vague idea of what goals the business must accomplish in the coming year. Design a strategy for every facet of your company, including marketing, promotions, products to introduce and technological updates. This strategy will keep goals clear when other areas are less than predictable.

Keep a sharp eye on long-term goals and investments. One of the greatest tools any retailer can have is a solid business plan. Knowing what needs to be accomplished long term can alleviate some of the urgency that comes with executing daily tasks. Set aside a time sensitive list of where the business should be after certain increments of time so that you are able to allocate funds accordingly, train employees efficiently and troubleshoot any issues without causing more in the process. Spending too much time on one day’s task list can be detrimental to morale throughout the company, which is one expense no retailer can afford.

Finally, put off the habit of “putting it off.” A study performed by the University of Chicago found that 20 percent of the American population chronically procrastinates, and this is exceptionally risky in business. In line with the importance of having a “strategy” rather than an “idea,” delaying action is not a safe tactic. Think back on the past few years of your business and try to name how many profound growth spurts have taken place. How much more could have been done, had you taken more leaps along the way? Being assertive about the company and brand will accelerate profits, provided enough effort is put forth.