Best Practices: Keep Learning (11)

The world is changing, new technology and new business processes, new competitors and new legislation make it a constant process of learning for us all.  Unfortunately, as the business owner, it often falls on to you to keep up to date.  When everything is your responsibility, it’s difficult to focus on the things that really matter.

Here’s my short-list of areas I attempt to keep up to date on all the time:

Competitors

Rather obvious, but I check-out Starlit Citadel’s competitors on a regular basis.  What are they doing that I’m not? What do they stock that I don’t? Am I missing a trick there?

It’s worth looking at indirect competitors here too – Amazon & Chapters are mainly indirect competition to me.  Yes, they stock board games, but that’s not their focus.  Yet.  On the other hand, they have a lot more marketing muscle than I do, so watching what they do can often great best practices to emulate.

Marketing

Both a personal interest and a competitive need, I keep up to date on the latest technologies and trends.  I add technology here because things like Smartphones and iPads have started to change the way our site is being used.  It’s high on our list of things to do – getting a mobile version of Starlit up.

Legislation / Bureaucracy

Not something I want to keep up to date on, but changes in EI / CPP / taxes all impact our business, never mind licensing and other factors.  Thankfully, changes are rare here and the government is pretty good on sending out information pamphlets when things do change.

Products

With all this learning, reading and research, sometimes it’s easy to forget that you need to actually learn about the products you sell.  It’s a common complaint on my side – I rarely play the games I like more than a few times because I am always looking to play new games to increase my product knowledge.

Business Books

On top of these areas, I try to pick up a business book a month and read through them.  Well, I average one a month.  These books can be on anything from warehouse management to purchasing to accounting to a beginners book on corporations.  The goal is to add or refresh that knowledge base.

2 thoughts on “Best Practices: Keep Learning (11)”

  1. I think that, while Amazon etc. may soon control the gateways games, Starlit is a place where true Canadian (and others) boardgamers shop. I wouldn’t worry a whole lot about the bigger “feed the masses” stores, unless they cut into your bottom line via under pricing your ‘Settlers’ package.

    As far as having a ‘smart phone’ friendly website or app, I know I usually use my iPhone to browse a website as it would be seen on a computer. I hate websites that have a ‘smart phone’ website that is MUCH less accessible than the computer version. I have a SmartPhone! Let me browse the real website!

    I’ve always bought from SLC, and I forever will.

  2. I agree with you about worrying about gateway games for Amazon, et. al; but they are great to watch for what is becoming ‘commonplace’ in terms of

    Interesting point about smartphones – it’s certainly something to keep in mind. The design changes I’ve seen provide 95% of the functionality – just better designed to fit into a smaller screen. So, less white space, the search bar is prominent; categories fit in a smaller space, etc.

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