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Knowing The Critical Function Of Your Business Puts You On The Road To Success

What's the critical function or "heart and soul" of your business? To find the answer ask yourself a basic question: "What makes my business work?"

In retailing, for example, most business owners describe the critical function as providing good service, providing quality control in product selection, maximizing sales, or turning inventory. Every one of these is a characteristic of a well-operated retail business.

But the critical function for any retail operation is, pure and simple, foot traffic. And, success is generated by increasing that foot traffic, because when there's foot traffic the retailer is capable of selling anything!

In short, it's not a question of what kind of merchandise is sold, or the price, or the decor, or the service. It's simply a matter of getting most people to walk through your retail store.

That's why retailers pay $30 per square foot for space in a major regional mall, as opposed to $10 per square foot in a shopping center three miles away, or even less in strip stores and free standing locations. Indeed, when there is no pre-established foot traffic, the natural foot traffic available (in your location) has to be augmented by special promotions, events, and advertising.

A restaurant environment has a different critical function. It's not foot traffic, per se, because a restaurant is not a retail store. In a restaurant you're absolutely limited by the amount of tables available in your unit. Increasing foot traffic will increase your sales to the extent of the available tables, afterwards you have to increase the speed with which you process customers at your tables.

So "table turns" is a critical function for the restaurant business. Good food and excellent service is important, but the "heart and soul" of a restaurant operation is the extent to which you are capable of filling and then turning your tables.

In both instances the critical function is discernible. For retailing it's foot traffic, for restaurants it's table turns. Hence, the entrepreneurial retailer who discovers a unique way to maximize the foot traffic through his door, or the restaurateur who finds new ways to speed the turns of his tables, will obviously benefit in the process.

Not only must you ask yourself the question, "What makes my business work?," but you must take the next step...follow through after you've answered the question. This requires implementation of the necessary programs you design.