shopping_trip_turn_to_business_lesson_1What started as a shopping trip to get a little “down time” from work and keep those creative juices flowing, turned into an ‘ah-hah’ business lesson.

I took the last couple of days off because I’ve been working full throttle for the past week and was mentally spent. Yesterday I went clothes shopping (not a favorite activity for me)…it was a 3 hour “adventure” and I have total admiration for those women that can really ‘do’ the shopping thing well (note to self: hire a personal shopper). Put me in a food store, or Home Depot – no problem – it’s like I’m at Disneyland…but clothes – um, whole different story. It really is a chore for me.

At the end of the day, I managed to walk away with a few outfits and some new favorites. But here is what I discovered about the process and my ultimate selections: Among all the choices, the ones that ‘made the cut’ had the best fabrics, felt right on my skin, and fit perfectly.

And, when that happened it didn’t matter to me what the price tag said because I knew that those were clothes that I would actually wear AND because of the quality, I would get a lot of use from them.

Process of Elimination

While a more experienced shopper could probably see something on a hangar and know immediately if it’s a keeper or not, I don’t have that talent yet when it comes to clothing. So, I went through the store and selected everything that caught my eye.

My goal; however, was that I was only going to purchase something if it was complete. Either a complete outfit or a piece that would go with something that I already owned. I know that if I left the store with a solo piece with the intention of ‘someday’ finding something to go with it so that I would actually use it…it would never happen.

Just like with tools, services, or software that you invest in for your business…only purchase something that you know you are going to use and implement in your business! Otherwise, it just hangs in the closet (or on your desktop) collecting dust, right? Wasted resources.

OK, so the next step was the dressing room.

I had collected about 80 pieces of clothing and as I started to try them on, I thought that maybe I had gone a little mad. This was going to take an eternity!

But I put a system together:

  1. First – go through all the bottoms quickly to see what fit and what felt right
  2. Next – go through the tops
  3. Finally – the dresses

That was the first step – quickly eliminating anything that didn’t immediately give me that “Yes! This feels amazing” reaction.

shopping_trip_turn_to_business_lesson_2It’s interesting because that’s how I write. First, I gather all the information, Next, I just free-form write, collecting anything that spills out of my head. Then, I re-read what I wrote, quickly eliminating anything that just doesn’t feel right. This sort of removes the clutter so that I can fine-tune the content using only the best of the initial brain dump.

OK – back to the dressing room.

With the clothes that were definitely a “no” out of the way, I could focus on what was left. There is no use in trying to “force” an outfit together with a piece of clothing that was uncomfortable, right? Now, working with only the best I could see if I had full outfits that I knew I would wear and take the time to evaluate the quality, style, etc. 

At the End of the Day

After three hours, I left the store feeling accomplished, but tired. I walked away with enough clothing to last me for quite a while. And because I took the time to complete the process now, I don’t have to go back and try to match up any misfits.

The funny thing for me was that while I was trying things on, I didn’t look at labels or anything. What was more important to me was whether or not it fit me and felt right. However, after I purchased them, I did notice that there were a couple of pieces that I chose from the same brand.

The cut from this designer was perfect for me and the fabrics consistently felt good against my skin. It didn’t matter to me at that point that the price on the tag was in the upper limits…I know that the quality of the material and craftsmanship will serve me well into the future.

And, what’s even more important for me is that now I know about these brands, the consistently in quality, and how well they work for me, the time I spend on my next shopping trip may be reduced considerably because I can start with them.

The Ah-hah Business Lesson

There were a lot of parallels between my shopping trip and running a great business.

  • Systems work
  • Look for the assistance of a professional when required
  • Quality trumps quantity
  • Only invest in what you will use

I initially took this shopping trip to spend some time away from my work and keep the creative juices flowing. I was able to take this time away because of the systems I have in place in my business.

Great systems allow you to create a business that doesn’t feel like a J.O.B. And great people help you implement those systems.

I work with a talented team of outsourcers and am very grateful for them. And, when I take on a client to create a content marketing strategy for them, I approach it with the big picture in mind. My goal is always to put together content pieces that work, fit right, and will serve them and their business for years to come. And we create full packages so that everything is done through a system, with a plan, and in a manner that makes everyone’s life (and business) a little easier and a whole lot more productive!

Your turn: Have you ever had an “aha” business moment while doing something non-work related? Let me know in the comments below or email me directly: [email protected]

Need content for your business? Maybe I can help! Contact me and we’ll see if we are a good “fit”

Photo Credits:

Little brown bag of Shopping !

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