It’s way too easy to get emotionally and personally involved in the constant flow of negative business news that cascades into our lives on an ongoing basis.

January can be an especially manic month, as many business presidents, shareholders and owners reflect on their year end and decide what business looks like going forward. For some companies the future is bright, for others, tough decisions are made and doors will close.

Change is constant in our lives; in business it’s no different. Personally, I’ve always thrived in the uncertainty of business. The embracing of the unknown has often kept myself and those around me fresh, current and relevant in a competitive market no matter what we were involved in.

In saying that, one of the main characteristics that has helped myself and other aware business owners cope with never ending change has been the art of living in complete gratitude.

When living in gratitude becomes a permanent way of life, the energy that surrounds you and those around you, yields so many positive benefits that even during times of dramatic business change, life is good.

To this day, I live in gratitude for all the wonderful people I had the opportunity to work with and serve when I was a retailer. Not only during the great profitable years, but also when we were changing direction and moving onto the next adventure.

By communicating to your employees and those that support your business about how grateful you are to be associated with them and the contributions they make, you are contributing to the well being of their lives and yours.

I’m sure many of you are giving gratitude constantly; however I’m happy to have assembled a small list that you may use as a reference if you wish.

Give gratitude to these people daily, it’s a positive thing to, and darn it – it just feels good!

  • Your family, they are living this dream with you.
  • Your staff, they are helping you live your dream and theirs.
  • Your customers, they are keeping your dream alive.
  • Your suppliers, they keep you stocked up.
  • Your transport company, they deliver the goods.
  • Your accountant, it is a numbers game.
  • Your advertising reps, not as glamorous a job as you may think.
  • Your community, pay it forward.

The list could go on and on. Customize it to fit your unique establishment and life. Change is constant; living in gratitude is a positive companion with change.

Today, I give gratitude to you, for taking the time to read this.


Future-proofing your business

In general, the term "future-proof" refers to the ability of something to continue to be of value into the distant future; that the products or services you offer don’t become obsolete.

Future-proofing is a survival requirement if you wish your business to remain relevant as we cruise into the New Year and beyond.

The problem being, the majority of business owners don’t future-proof. Many companies rich with tradition and past success don’t understand that their history itself can be a curse to a lengthy and prosperous future.

The challenge to future-proofing your business or industry, is to break from the past without disavowing it, but not let your past control your future. You don’t have to look far to see the carnage that has been created in so many companies due to the stuffed shirts in the corner offices not wanting to break from tradition. Personal fears of being ridiculed, fear of change or just plain lack of motivation due to the extra work that may be created has caused many individuals not to take needed action.

That combined with not wanting to lose a tasty-fat paycheck, has many company presidents, owners, managers and other team members close up tight as a clam rather than helping secure a positive future for their companies by using their voices, embracing change and future-proofing for a brighter tomorrow.

Companies such as BlackBerry, Polaroid, Sears, Mexx and Barnes and Noble just to name a few, have done a terrible job in future-proofing – not enough voices used. These companies did not react quick enough to satisfy an ever changing consumer base. It’s paramount that you analyze current trends in customer consumption constantly and be prepared to do a 180 in a moment’s notice if required.

It’s truly amazing the numbers of business owners that continually complain about it being so tough, yet don’t take any action to remedy the sad story they keep telling themselves and all those around them. Why not make the year 2015 one to remember for all the right reasons. Make this a year of not repeating what you have always done. Take action, if you require making dramatic changes to your business model, just do it. Stop waiting for the perfect time, that time will never arrive and please stop waiting for permission or acceptance from those around you to validate your ideas of change, just do it!

I see the writing on the wall in my own community for so many businesses and industries that require immediate help if they wish to remain relevant. Living In a small/medium sized market with far too many radio stations, furniture stores and frozen yogurt establishments, just to name a few, that are all to similar to their competitors. It’s only a matter of time before the winds of change cause those that didn’t future-proof to change, one way or another.

Future-proofing. Get to know it.

All About That Base (Salary)

You know the song – just hum along!

All About That Base (Salary) - lyrics by Geoff Mintenko. Thank you for the idea Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass - original artist – You Rock!


Because you know, I’m all about that base ‘bout that base, no struggle.

I’m all about that base ‘bout that base, no struggle. I’m all about that base ‘bout that base, no struggle.

I’m all about that base ‘bout that base.

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I’m talking retailers here. You know the ones I mean, the minimum wage paying scene.

You want the job done right, but your just too darn tight, to pay your workers right, and stop employee flight.

You say you can’t keep staff, well now that’s just a laugh, go ahead and do the math.

If you paid staff well, then most would stay a spell, and more product sell.

Think about your training costs, and all that’s lost, cause you’re a low paying boss.

You talk about sunshine tax, with other BS quacks; you say it’s a price staff pay, if they want to stay.

Well I can tell you this; it’s them you’ll miss, when they leave your town for greener ground.

Because you know I’m all about that base ‘bout that base, no struggle.

I’m all about that base ‘bout that base, no struggle. I’m all about that base ‘bout that base, no struggle. I’m all about that base ‘bout that base.

I’m here to say, the past, is not today. I’m bringing hope and change, so you may rearrange. You see, it takes two, to make your business work; you need the customer, and the clerk.

Buck-up now and pay some more, you’ll build key staff, to run the store.

On-line sales, there growing fast, its key staff, that’ll help make your last.

Because you know, I’m all about that base ‘bout that base, no struggle

I’m all about that base ‘bout the base, no struggle. I’m all about that base ‘bout that base, no struggle.

I’m all about that base ‘bout that base.


Give the gift of time

Profit will come and profit will go in business, however there will only be so much time in our lives to create the memories we share with our families, friends and loved ones. A price can’t simply be put on those moments.

Having been a retailer for a better period of my life, I was witness to and part of the manic hysteria that revolved around retailing during the holiday season for numerous years. I despised every moment of it, like unintentionally taking a bite of your least favorite chocolate from the Black Magic box.

You see the holiday season doesn’t really represent the holiday season to those in retail, in fact it’s the complete opposite. A different energy fills the air - many business owners and managers become Scrooge-Grinches. Self imposed panic sets in because that’s what they think they are supposed to feel. They’ll make sure that feeling is spread to the front line workers. They’ll chant things like “this month will make or break our year” or “no time off, extended hours of work for all”. In quick measure also relaying that “this is retail – if you don’t like it, there’s the door”!

Please, don’t even get me started on Boxing Day sales in Canada, or is it Boxing Week, or is it now Boxing Month? All I know is the “Boxing” effect will eventually go the way of the dinosaur and that, my friends, will be a day of celebration to myself and many others.

Now let’s talk customers. Not the wonderful level-headed souls that generally shop your fine stores. I’m talking about the kind of customers you create with all your holiday hysteria, turning genuinely good people into stressed, angry and anxious Who-villians.

The combination of tired, overworked, stressed retail staff that has had no family time, mixed with a hyper caffeine-fueled, turkey-buzzed client base is a recipe for sour eggnog if there has ever been one.

Is it time for you Mr and Mrs Retailer to start a new holiday tradition? How about helping those employees that help you so much, create some holiday memories.

Do what I started to do about 20 years ago. I made a conscious choice to close all of the stores I operated the day before Christmas and not re-open until at least a couple of days after Christmas.

I gave the gift of time. The gift of time, so my staff could unwind and enjoy a holiday with friends and loved ones. I gave our customers the gift of not having to feel they were going to miss out on “the great deal”.

I can’t tell you enough on how this positively affected all those around me. All I can say is the memories that were created for so many will last a lifetime and none of my stores suffered financially, in fact they excelled. This was something I practiced for over 15 years and occasionally am reminded of the gesture from past employees, even to this day.

There may come a time in your business that giving time will feel right to you. Maybe that time is now?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

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About the Author

Renowned Retail Expert and Strategist Geoff Mintenko is the driving force behind the company Retail-Evolution. Geoff consults and speaks to power retailers North America-wide, sparking innovation, igniting positive change and helping companies thrive is his passion.

Geoff’s real-speak, direct approach attitude to business, has garnered him local and international acclaim. The articles he writes and the keynote speeches he gives are meant to stimulate, educate and frustrate - that’s a good thing, it helps business evolve. Helping companies break boundaries, shift mindset and foster a culture of creativity is Geoff’s specialty. He has helped many companies thrive in this ever-changing economic climate.

You can find him at www.retail-evolution.com or [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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