There is no doubt that we are living in uncertain times. The leak of the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, the inflation caused by war, supply chain issues and labor shortages have left many people worrying about what the future holds. For business owners, this uncertainty can be both daunting and exciting. It is a time of opportunity, but also a time when you need to be prepared for anything. So, how can you succeed in business during these uncertain times? Let's take a look.
First, keep in mind that sex never goes out of style. As stress levels rise around us, our customers need our products more than ever. Regardless of the ebbs and flows of culture and politics and economic booms or busts, our industry always endures. The day it doesn't is a dark one for humans!
Regardless of the ebbs and flows of culture and politics and economic booms or busts, our industry always endures.
Secondly, remember that one of the great strengths of the adult industry is that we are mostly a collection of small, independent-minded business-people. This means that we are agile and able to pivot on a dime when demand or the market forces change. In fact, our industry is often at the forefront of technological changes and is the first to embrace advances in manufacturing and design.
To be successful in uncertain times — in any industry — it is important to focus on your goals and maintain a positive outlook. This will help you weather any storms that come your way, and it will help bolster your staff to trust your leadership when they hear thunder in the distance. It can be difficult to stay positive when the world around you is in turmoil, but remember that this too shall pass.
With all that in mind, here are three things I think every store owner should be focused on:
Keep your shelves full
If your store looks half empty, customers will assume you are out of business or about to be, especially after seeing so many businesses close due to the pandemic. Watch your percentages. In uncertain times, it is more important than ever to watch your margins and markups. Count and count again, and make sure you don't have any leaks in your system or dark corners that inventory is disappearing from.
When people walk into your store, you want them to see shelves bursting with items to help them have fun. The good news is that small, seemingly inconsequential items usually have the best margins. So, stock tons of silver bullets, trial-size products and smaller items that people can walk out with and have a great time without having to spend a lot of money. Be prepared for the worst but hope for the best. This is a time when you need to have an abundance mindset. So have tons of the small, affordable items, but don't forget to have a few larger aspirational things merchandised nearby. You never know who has what resources available or how important their pleasure is to them. Just because times are tight for some doesn’t mean that is the same case for everyone. We all are on our own journey, and “tight” is relative.
Keep your people happy
This goes for employees as well as customers. A positive atmosphere will keep people coming back, even when times are tough. Make sure your employees feel appreciated, and keep an eye out for any drama or negative energy that might be brewing. Be the light in the darkness. In uncertain times, people are looking for leadership and guidance. They want to know that someone is in control and has a plan. Be that person for your customers and your employees. Let them know that you are there for them and that you will help them get through this tough time. Last but not least, happy employees make for happy customers. Make sure your staff feels appreciated and respected and create a positive work environment that people enjoy coming to each day. When times are tough, your team will be more likely to stick by you and see things through.
Stay connected in the industry
Lastly, remember that we are all in this together, and we will get through it by supporting each other! Join industry alliances so together we have a stronger voice. Use Zoom and the modern tools we have at our disposal to get face time with your vendor sales reps so you can find the best deals and stay on top of the latest trends. When our businesses succeed, our industry succeeds, and that benefits everyone involved, including the consumer who ultimately drives our businesses.
One of the things I love most about this industry is that once you are in, we don't let you go. We are family, and we stick together to have fun and make life better for everyone involved. Until next time, stay safe and stay connected!
Tami Rose is an award-winning store owner, writer and speaker with over 15 years of experience in the adult industry. Tami has been featured in magazines such as Cosmo, Men's Health, The Daily Beast and XBIZ. Her store Romantic Adventures is located in Jackson, Mississippi, as well as online at RomanticAdventures.com.