Three Simple Tweaks to be Efficient in Business
This is the season that many sellers list and cull and reprice. Keep in mind that we still should be attending sales, thrift stores or our favorite scouting places, cleaning, and inventorying books all while packing books to get out the door. This can totally overwhelm the solo bookseller. What’s a bookseller to do?
I have three suggestions:
Delegate — Get help. You can hire someone on as part time help. Some college students have a little extra time so post on the bulletin boards at the college near your house. Check with your local state laws, but we can hire daily help and pay them without having to actually hire them on the books if we pay them less than $500. I write off the expense but I don’t need to do the government paperwork like I would as a staff employee. Also, family members are an ideal way to do this and you certainly get a tax break there. Again without the hassle of claiming them for workman’s comp, etc.
Streamline — Use organization techniques. I have multiple copies of both business and home organization books. I find certain foundational principles in each that work for all types of tasks. Use lists. Touch once. Batch tasks. Store at point of use. The easiest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Do the least desired tasks during your peak performance hours. Write schedules. Focus for short periods of time uninterrupted using breaks as incentive to stay laser targeted on your tasks.
These are all rules I have lived by for years. I have a rather large family and I survive only by using these easily applied methods as I go along in my day. You have to have routine and discipline in this business or you will feel like quitting when the business gets busy.
Rethink — Pricing. Are you selling multiple low end books? This is a strategy that works for some but I thought it through and for us it doesn’t work. Here’s why; if your low end price is $3-$6 and you want to make great money selling books, you are going to have to hustle lots of books out the door to reach your financial goal. This means less time for scouting, and learning the trade through research. Also, you may have noticed if you have been in the business for any length of time that there is a downward pricing issue with general stock books. This means your bread and butter books will be the first to become penny books and it will be sooner than you may believe.
Rethink — Specializing. This is why you are learning a specialty – children’s books, sprinkled in with preISBN flash point books over $35 and of course our beloved cookbooks that I like to tell you about here at the site. If you can at least mingle the low end books with the higher end books you fare much better. Become specialized, at least in part, and you have an advantage especially if God forbid, all general stock books price downward to penny books.
These are ideas to keep you going especially as you hit the whirlwind of activity life brings. Pick an area and focus by tweaking just a bit or add one of the above thoughts into your business. I know you’ll be amazed at how things flow differently for you. Finally, keep your focus on change and betterment of the business rather than overwhelm and defeat. Let’s face it – yes, it is about the money after all that’s why we do what we do. However, it’s not all about the money. We should enjoy what we do and be content.