· By Grace Snively
Why you matter, EVERY month.
In retail we have something called the J-months. They are known to deplete you a bit and make you question every move you're making! They also require us as business owners to experience the negative before the positive. And I don't mean negative as in negative experience but actual negative as in MONEY!
You see the J months are January, June and July! In retail we get to start our fiscal year in the negative or too close for comfort! We come off of December with a holiday buzz and experience an incredibly slow month! Add in holiday returns, families tightening their budget after a holiday spend and days that seem to get dark way to fast and you've meet January as a business owner in retail! Most of us can make January a break even month, but it isn't without working 3 times as hard for those results!
Then come June & July! In retail we've kept the lights on, kept people on payroll, continued to buy the merchandise to supply our customers for 6 months and then we have to buckle up and go on the biggest roller coaster of our lives for 2 months! June and July will take any retail business and most likely throw them into the negative until Black Friday! Yep, we celebrate our mid fiscal year with 2 months that throw retail into the negative! You'll see retail stores pull back on launches or the amount of inventory they push out during these 2 months because the sales are not there to back it up! Personally, our payroll alone throws us into the negative for June and July! We pay more to our employee's to have the doors open then we receive in walk in sales at the store.
In retail you know this and you expect it! Sometimes there can be surprises and better J months than other's. But for the most part we fasten our seats belts, watch our accounts go negative and get ready for the season that gives us a workout and pushes us back over the edge! We, as business owners in retail, gamble for 9 months in hopes that our 4th quarter will make the last 9 worth it! Black Friday was given it's name because it's the day that businesses finally get out of the red and back into the black. It's the day we see a positive number after being thrown into the negative. It's a bit maddening but we do it because we love how we make our customers feel every quarter, even if that means we have to wait until 4th quarter to be in the positive!
If you walk into a shop 1st quarter, that business owner is so grateful for you. She is tired from a non stop 4th quarter, she is eager for a new year with new goals, she is hopeful that this can be the breakthrough year and she is just so thrilled that you have walked through those doors and are a part of her journey!
If you walk into a shop 2nd quarter, that business owner is so grateful for you. She is feeling hopeful with Easter, graduation, & wedding season on the horizon! She is feeling the energy with spring and warmer weather right around the corner and she has her creative grove back! Most importantly, she is just so thrilled that you have walked through those doors and are a part of her journey!
If you walk into a shop 3rd quarter, that business owner is so grateful for you. She is getting a little worried as she just finished her 2nd J month of the year, she is wondering how she is going to pay staff. She is lingering on the edge of summer and planning for fall. She is nervous about the holiday season and what 4th quarter will provide but she is still so thrilled that you have walked through those doors and are a part of her journey!
If you walk into a shop 4th quarter, that business owner is so grateful for you. She is full of energy because this is the quarter that determines if the shop will last 1 more year! She is excited about the fall trends and is passionate about helping you with your holiday shopping! She is exhausted but in a good way because the shipping, buying, packaging, streaming, refilling the store never stops because it's 4th quarter! Even after 3 J months and almost loosing hope she is still thrilled that you have walked through those doors and are a part of her journey!
When you support a small business in 1st quarter you are giving that owner hope for the year to come. When you support a small business in 2nd quarter you are giving that owner the boost they need to make it through the summer! When you support a small business 3rd quarter you are giving that owner a reminder of why they do what they do! When you support a small business in 4th quarter you are giving that owner the confidence to do this all over again next year!
Thank you for supporting small business owners! Your support does not go unnoticed and it's crucial to the cycle a business owner goes through in deciding to say YES to the journey a little bit longer!