Slow Day at the Bookstore
Slow days stink. There’s no two ways about it. They stink.
Slow days put me down. I can’t shake the feeling. They just do.
The only remedy (besides prayer and reading my Bible) is to hear the register ring.
This is sort of what has happened today. I spent the morning in our new store sort of moping about the fairly good traffic flow yet almost total lack of sales. You sit, look out the window, get way too enthusiastic when someone comes in, think about how nice it must be to have a job that pays per hour, find tedious tasks that don’t need to be done, scour the internet for sundry items that you can’t afford, kill the random fly that’s not bothering anyone at the window, and long for better sales days.
The more I pondered oh-man-this-store-really-isn’t-going-to-make-it thoughts, the more I realized how unstable business can be. We’ve been open at our new location (www.gottwalsbooks.com) for about two months now. I was just recently interviewed (with a TV spot that aired a week ago on our big local news CBS affiliate-check it out on our website) about the business community here in Byron, GA, and I told them that I could not be more pleased with how sales are going. But, this week has me a bit down.
Notice how I just said, “this week.” It is completely absurd to base anything on 3-4 days of sales when your 8-10 week trend has been impressive.
Here’s the heart of the matter… business will often slump, and it will slump hard. I remember managing a consumer electronics store that did two million dollars per year in business. We had (very embarrassing) days when our sales would be a couple hundred dollars. You don’t pay 30 employees with $200 per day in sales. However, I also remember those $10K+ days that made up for all of the rest.
I would never suggest beating a dead horse (first off, it’s pointless; secondly, it’s awkward-looking), so this is why I will never say that a business should continue past what is feasible when they are in a constant slump. If your store has spent the last 12 months averaging $40 per day in sales, those 10 random days with $200 worth of sales are NOT a positive sign of growth. The sign of growth comes when you start the year with $10 in sales and end the year with $70 per day in sales. That growth. Hovering at $40 with an occasional $0 or $200 is barely proving that you have a pulse.
Yes, I am blessed to have a store that have started off strongly, but I know what it was like to have a fledgling business model. Our first store took almost two years to really turn any sort of profit, but we were always encouraged by the slow yet steady increases in sales.
But, if you’re like me, and you’re having some slow days, consider a few things. Has your business gone through a major change? Have your surroundings changed drastically? Has a conspiracy theory been leaked concerning your store? Have any cases of a major disease been found within your walls?
If none of these things are true, and you’re wondering why your sales have slumped, just be encouraged. Businesses do not gain strength within a day, and they do not lose all of their wind in a day. Base your opinions on your month-by-month totals and not your day-by-day (or, as I sometimes do, hour-by-hour, nervously hoping for another sale). Stop bookselling when your TREND stinks… not your day.