When the Going Gets Tough
Ellen Fruchtman, President
One of the greatest commercials was released on June 27th from sports drink giant, Gatorade. It is not only a great commercial on many creative levels, it is also a metaphor for what’s going on today in our industry. The 60-second commercial features some of the greatest athletes from Michael Jordan to Peyton Manning. These illustrious athletes are not talking about their amazing accomplishments, they’re speaking the truth about the number of hardships they had to endure to achieve their ultimate success.
The lesson? No matter how great you are, there are times in your career (and life) that you are going to lose. Most individuals don’t skip through life winning at every stage of the game. What separates true winners is how they bounce back from defeat.
What we are witnessing today is a retail game we are losing. We look at the scoreboard and we’re down by thirty points. It seems insurmountable. And, for many, it is. The truth is, we’ve been on this losing streak for several years. When it began, you walked away from the game with a two or four-point loss, without feeling defeat. It didn’t motivate you. Because you still felt like a winner.
You lost a few customers, but you still had your beautiful house, your fancy car and made a pretty good living. Now, the point spread is getting larger and, suddenly, losing doesn’t feel that good. Instead of acting like a winner, you’re accepting defeat. You’re walking away. You’ve got a championship ring from 1990 and you’re living off those laurels. You’ve taken your team as far as you can take it, and let’s face it, the rookies aren’t up to the task. They don’t want to practice seven days a week. They don’t want to do what it takes to win the game.
When enough of you feel this way, it makes it tough for everyone in the industry. From suppliers all the way down the chain to companies like us.
The thing is, you can win again. The rules are a little different, but the comeback will be oh so sweet. You’ve got to learn new plays and dare I say, work smarter, not necessarily harder, to get into the playoffs. You need to shift the paradigm. There are real solutions to every business problem you are facing today. But, you can’t do it alone. You need to get new blood on the bench. You need to add a few outside Assistant Managers who can take you to the next level. You need to change the way you play the game. You need to surround yourself with really smart people. Because that’s what smart people do. You need to use the Internet to your advantage. There’s a way to do it. It’s the biggest change you’ve seen, but you can win this game.
Most of all, you must not simply be the owner, you must take ownership. You may feel it all took you by surprise, but, you took your eye off the ball. Own up to it. And then do something about it. Aren’t you sick of reading about Millennials and how different they are? They’re not. They’re still buying engagement rings. Some are getting into custom and some like color. But, they are still buying! Is jewelry a priority after that sale? Nope. But, guess what? It wasn’t for any Boomer when they were 28! The game is the same. The play calls are just different.
Take sixty seconds and watch the video now.