Resolution more often than not comes with accepting failure. Though 'failure' is undoubtedly a word we all fear, it is a catalyst for change and improvement. Yes I know its cliche; but without failure there is no success. Only exception for this being a lucky first timers winning lotto ticket. So, when the year comes to end our most productive way of moving forward is counting our losses before us.
Now once you've done that you have to prioritize these losses. When doing so think about these losses or issues in relation to the overall mission of your business. Some issues may subside with time and some issues may appear as more crucial to your business' longevity than ever before. For many of us, especially for us small business' strapped on capital, this is a long term race, which makes this process of prioritizing issues and failing fast an integral part of your longevity.
Here is an example. At the end of 2015 our greatest frustration became our lack of ability to capitalize on greater margins with our direct to consumer channels. Direct to consumer was always a major focus of ours due to higher margins but at this rate it was going to take forever. Our online traffic was great, our social media presence was great, but we still had two major issues. First, we could not keep up with inventory. A majority of our inventory went to credit approved vendors, which take 50%-60% off the top. With the profit from that we could then only produce a small amount of retail inventory for direct to consumer channels. Second, we were afraid to produce too much inventory due to cash flow restrictions and an understanding that our core demographic may not be able to consistently purchase items at our price point.
Knowing direct to consumer was a major focus of ours we decided this was our major issue to take on. Our solution led us to creating a concept called The Cutting Room. The Cutting Room leveraged our online presence and presented a way for individual consumers to purchase from us the same way our retailers do. The items would go up online they could purchase at pre-sale and we would ship in six to eight weeks. Pre-sale though...doesn't sound that exciting and really it isn't. Why wait? What made the difference was that we created a pre-sale incentive (20% instead of our vendors 50%-60%) and we offered monthly pricing. Take an item that regularly retailed at $100, we would make that item available in The Cutting Room for $80 and to lock in the pre-sale item while guaranteeing your size you only had to put $8/down. The trick in making it work was setting up a deal with a third party merchant, which gave us the money up front for production on goods that customers were purchasing on our monthly pricing plan. We were re-gaining our margin and able to invest that profit into the inventory of readily available products as well as into the development of more products in The Cutting Room.
At the end of the day when the money isn't coming in quick enough do not abandon your vision for another just yet. You gotta troubleshoot it first. Remember however, if you chase two rabbits you catch neither so choose wisely and resolve to resolve this year.