I think it blows some people away. It angers others. At the same time, it amuses others. Some just shake their head in disbelief. What am I talking about? It’s when “they” see Hobby Lobby full of Christmas inventory in June!
Yesterday I had a powerful reminder of just how smart “they” are on so many levels. The lesson came at my own personal expense. Both in time and gas money.
Let me back up. Many of you know that one of our businesses is Dave’s Christmas Workshop. We do interior home Christmas decorating. This year, three of our customers needed their homes done before November 7th for a home tour. I have been one of those crazy people buying supplies for months. In August I went into Hobby Lobby and noticed that there were aisles and aisles of Christmas merchandise. They have a cool system where as things sell they shift the remaining merchandise counter clockwise in the store until it’s all gone. That part I am used to. What blew me away this year was that all over the entire store there is a second supply of merchandise on all the overhead shelves. As I tried to comprehend the task of knowing how much to order, how much money to risk on inventory, I mentioned it to the woman at the checkout counter. Her response showed the signs of a well organized business where planning is key. She said, “We sell more decorations than anyone in the area and almost any other Hobby Lobby. This year we will probably break all records.”
I’m doing good at helping her meet that goal! But yesterday I had a problem. I needed to purchase a small tree that had to be finished yesterday. Unfortunately Hobby Lobby is closed on Sunday. I thought, “no problem, I’ll just grab one somewhere else.” Well, six stores and two hours later I finally found something almost close to what I needed. As I went from store to store employees just dismissed my request with “we’re not set up for Christmas yet – give us maybe another week?!?” Yep, that really worked for me. But I also realized I’m not the only one needing supplies. While in the checkout line a family behind me said they were purchasing supplies, too, because they have an early Christmas with their kids at Thanksgiving.
Hobby Lobby will beat them all hands down! They have planne…they have invested in inventory…they are ready for all shoppers – the early birds and the late ones…they have communicated their plan to their employees…the goal is right out in front for everyone to see…I would love to get an inside view of their Christmas sales numbers.
The whole experience made me realize again the principle that “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” It’s a universal principle that applies to every area of our lives.
In full disclosure, in all of our business efforts I often have a pretty good idea of the plan, but for years I would say that planning cramps my style and stifles my creativity. On specific occasions I would purposefully just avoid the activity all together. I always paid the price.
Susie, by contrast, is the meticulous planner. Whether it’s her business or a birthday party, every detail is important to her. To tell you I never get annoyed with her attention to detail and timelines would be a lie. But over 40 years I have come to see and appreciate the fact that if you’re not prepared, if you fail to plan:
*You will never meet your full potential.
*You will always be scrambling to catch up ( I always laugh when I see the sign “Your failure to plan is not our emergency.”)
*Your customers or your friends and family will not view you as the “Gold Standard” and the best of the best.
* Your customers will not be able to refer you, your services, or your customer satisfaction with 100 % confidence.
*There will be unnecessary moments, sometimes hours of regret for what could have been, for poor performances, for unmet expectations.
*Life will always seem like it’s on the verge of falling apart.
That’s what I want for all of our endeavors. To provide the people I am trying to serve with the best possible care and results. Truthfully, we all have people we are trying to serve so it’s not just limited to the shop owner down the street or to Walmart. Whether it’s my family life, my spiritual life, or my business life, there needs to be some amount of planning. And to me planning is just taking time at regular intervals to determine not only how to get from point A to point B, but also figuring out what are point A and point B. This is a principle of life that applies to all of us.
When we plan, the result will be moments in our day and moments in our life, that will affect us for days, weeks, and years to come. I told you Susie is a planner…no…she is the planner! In fact all of Mia’s Fab Five’s Christmas gifts are already bought and wrapped for Christmas! Though that may seem annoying to many, the advance planning and work will allow us to enjoy every moment and event of the holidays. We can focus on our kids and grandchildren, on the events, on the effectiveness of time together, not wishing we “had thought of that earlier.”
* Energizes me.
* It fuels me and gives momentum to my day.
*It helps clear my head when the days get hectic.
*It allows me to keep my priorities in order.
*It helps me spend those 1440 minutes of each day wisely.
*It is the surest way I know to see your full potential realized.
The writer of Proverbs put it best.
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”
Proverbs 21:5 NIV
So plan on planning. Take just a few minutes each day. Sometimes take an hour just to dream and plan. It will effect every area of your life!