Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Canceling Orders


Q: Now that we have all returned from the mart and have put ourselves out there financially again, should we be scared about what the financial experts are saying about the economy? Are you planning to forge on or in this case do you consider canceling some of your orders? I am on the fence and could use some solid advice and hand-holding. Thanks in advance.

A: Remember when I went to San Diego and did that retail conference? The guest speaker was a guy names Max Carey. He had an interesting theory about all the things the 'experts' tell us about our economy or the state of the union. He asked us how many people are in the world? Billions, right? How many of those people do we need to keep our businesses successful? Then he got us and we knew where he was going.... .00001%! We do not need to be everything to everybody. We do not need to have all the residents in our city be our customers. We need very few to keep us going. This helps to keep it in perspective. Or as I like to think "Everything to everybody means nothing special to no one."

It is very common to come home after a buying trip and panic. I am doing it too because sales, well- suck right now. And, I am writing from the Dallas Market which I came to right after Atlanta! I am terrified to order anything here. One morning I wake up and I am freaking out and the next minute I am telling myself I will not think this way, it will be fine, it will be great, I will survive, I always have.... the mantra goes on. I survived after September 11th so I feel I can survive any fluctuation that may happen now.

I have definitely come home from a buying trip and canceled a few orders before. But usually it is not so much from the financial burden it may bring as it is because I ordered something down right stupid or too quickly or too deep or found something I liked better. Before you make any drastic cancellations go through your orders item by item and cancel the ITEM you are not 80% sure of- or the quantity. This will not only knock your spending back a little but perhaps save you from carrying something that you don't believe in. Also, instead of a final cancellation, spread out the deliveries. Lay out your orders and think of the dates or months you want them to come in and call the vendor to confirm. We should do this anyway but pacing ourselves when times are tough is crucial.

Lastly, the next time you go to market try to be as clear as you can about ordering. I make charts and files and outlines so I can keep track of how many ornaments I buy or garland I need or frames or whatever. Especially for Christmas buying. Things start coming in 8 months later and you realize you have a dozen mercury ornaments that are very similar. Now before you think I am a buying librarian- I am not. But I do go back to my hotel and scribble notes and go through orders and try to see how many wreaths I am getting or discover I did not order enough soap. Then I am a little more prepared for what I still need to order or need to cancel. I know one business owner who never buys at market! They take many notes, get catalogs and go home and review after the emotional aspect and impulse of market has left. Very smart.

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