Inspiration often comes from the strangest sources at the most unexpected times as I recently experienced when listening to a quote from possible the world’s most quoted source of eternal wisdom, although definitely not one usually associated with retail even if it is the world’s second oldest profession.



The quote was from Confucius, and was the following, although I apologise in advance for any minor deviations from the original:

“If the heart contains love, then the man is content. If the man is content then the family are happy. If the family is happy then society is calm. If society is calm then the country is ordered. If the country is ordered then the world is at peace”

The message for retail is not so much about happiness or peace, although we all need a measure of this, but the principle of something small but important helping to create something large and meaningful.

Working in retail large numbers are important such as like-for-like sales or gross profit often measured in millions of £s accumulated across chains of tens or hundreds of stores. To contribute and make positive change, where to begin and what to do can often seem like the proverbial mountain itself. However the fact is that large commercial success is built from a myriad of small events and in many ways the precious commodity of time is the place to focus. This is a place where the efficiency of actions fuels the fires of profit.

To retail paraphrase the words of Confucius, the developed wisdom would be “If the seconds contain reason, the minutes are meaningful. If the minutes are meaningful then the hours are efficient. If the hours are efficient then the days are purposeful. If the days are purposeful then the weeks are productive. If the weeks are productive then the months are successful. If the months are successful then the year is profitable!”

Whilst my words are a pale shadow of the great man, the message for store operations in retail is to ensure that every decision of every second is focused by the logic and priority of generating the most sales, in the easiest possible way, and that every subsequent action and every chain of events is guided by the sense of optimum efficiency and maximum margin.

With such rules and regimes, processes and protocols in place to guide and motivate a retail team the equally proverbial pennies will allow the princely pounds to literally look after themselves. And with the resulting love for his store personnel in the heart of every retail CEO then certainly happiness and peace can surprisingly break out across most retailers. Happy days indeed!

So take a few minutes of time to contemplate not only on my words, but also of those of Confucius, and you may find that the most precious import from China might not be quite what you expected it to be.


Are your store operations organised and managed efficiently?

Is every store decision and action prioritised correctly?

VM-unleashed has worked with a number of brands and retailers on developing and evolving their store operations, skills and training to ensure maximum efficiency and commercial output.

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