Dave Ramsey’s Retail: Baby Steps to Leave a Retail Legacy
“To be in a different place, you must believe and do things differently.” — Dave Ramsey
It isn’t often you read about the meaning of life in a trade publication, but I think we can mostly agree that leaving a legacy floats near the top of everyone’s “bucket list.” Whether that legacy is a healthy inheritance for your kids, a lifetime of service to the less fortunate, an invention that lives on long after you do, or simply the joy people feel in your memory, all legacies require that we're smart, innovative and giving throughout the course of our existence.
The more I thought about what my own legacy would be, I found myself becoming a passionate disciple of Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover,” and I soon realized the parallels for the retail industry are undeniable. As retailers work to leave a legacy in a market that won’t sit still for a moment, they’ve got to start thinking differently, too.
The Total Money Makeover program is based on Ramsey’s “Baby Steps,” which encourage program followers to focus on small goals with laser-like intensity. Retailers should do the same, turning their attention away from shiny objects like augmented reality, virtual reality, and drones, and instead focusing on fundamentals like the supply chain, point of sale, and assortment planning with laser-like intensity.
Live Like No One Else
Ramsey encourages his followers to get angry about their finances, and use that anger to beat debt and leave a legacy. Retailers should do the same. If you’re not incensed that Amazon.com is beating you, your omnichannel operations are subpar, and the competition is stealing your customers online and in-store, then it’s time you get fired up. Complacency is the silent killer of retail brands, and you can’t afford NOT to be smart, innovative and giving.
The basic tenet and mantra of Ramsey’s financial philosophy is “live like no one else, so later, you can live like no one else.” Now, of course, when it comes to personal finances, the implication is that you save, sacrifice and fervently attack debt to become financially free and wealthy for life. For retail, the implications are that in order to leave a legacy, you’ve got to set yourself apart from the rest. Retailers must dare to differentiate and invest like no one else. Then later, they can live and thrive like no one else.
The Baby Steps to a Retail Legacy
Now that you know you want to live like no one else, how do you do it? As Ramsey puts it, “The way you eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” This baby step approach to attack transformation “one bite at a time” is the path to a retail legacy.
Ramsey’s Baby Steps are tried and true for those looking to build personal wealth. These are my baby steps for retail success:
- Acknowledge the definition of insanity. Recognize that if you want to survive and thrive in this industry, something needs to change.
- Build a partnership. Find a technology partner you can trust to take you through digital transformation, and make sure it shares your values to be smart, innovative and giving.
- Get angry. Decide with your tech partner which aspects of your business are most pressing to transform, then attack those areas with investment dollars and innovation NOW.
- Continue to innovate one bite at a time. Use the return on innovation from your first investment in transformation to fund innovation across your business.
- Give back. Create a legacy that goes beyond profits. Find a cause where your business wants to contribute to change. This will be your true legacy, but it takes commitment to the first four steps to make it happen.
A Change of Heart Can Change the Future
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Retailers must let go of the sentiment attached to glory days gone by, change their behavior now, and focus on the baby steps needed to get to leave a legacy. This is the Total Retail Makeover, and only the misfits who live like no one else will survive.
Jenny Reese is senior marketing manager at Infor Retail, a company revolutionizing the customer experience across every channel with smart, modern software in the cloud.
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