Ditch Resale Excuses...Be a SMART-Y Instead

Jan 30, 2024

We get asked a lot:

  • “how do I run a successful consignment store?”
  • ”how do I run a successful thrift store?”
  • ”how do I run a successful resale store?”.

Whatever kind of store you have, we all want to be successful.  Right?  I mean we don’t set out looking to not do well.  We have visions of resale success dancing around our heads and how we think it’s all going to come together and just “work”.

And then we just expect it to.  We ask ourselves “what kind of consignment software should I get?” and then do it.  We ask ourselves “where can I find a community of other resale store owners who understand?” and then we seek them out. 

You want to stay on top of resale trends, find cutting edge solutions, become a leader in sustainable fashions/home.  We want to do all of those things, but sometimes we get stuck and just accept (and swim in)  the the negative sea of the world - just treading water instead of swimming ahead. 

You have to figure out what is or isn’t happening inside the four walls of your store instead of looking outside at what we blame (the weather, the economy, the politics, etc).

Start looking at where you want to be, set goals and ask the question of WHY.

The biggest part about setting goals is to make them SMART:


And I love how this all works and really makes you think about setting your goals, but what if you added one more and made them SMARTY goals?  Though the why I’m talking about isn’t the letter, it’s the word...WHY.

You can actually apply it in two different ways: 

  • asking the why to strengthen your goals
  • asking the why to find out what went wrong.

The concept of the 5 whys comes back to problem solving so you can peel back the layers to find the root cause of why something happened or understand why something didn’t happen as expected.



It can be an incredible way to strengthen your SMART goals:

Specific:  WHY did you word it the way you did?  Could your goal statement be open to interpretation or ambiguities?  Drill it down

Measurable:  WHY is this the best way to measure it/measure progress – are other metrics less or more effective?  You want clear and accurate tracking of what you want to achieve

Achievable:  WHY do you think this goal is achievable?  What are some potential obstacles that could hinder your progress? 

Here’s where you have to really understand the limitations, your resources and how you can/might have to adapt it to obtain it

Relevant:  WHY does this goal matter to you?  Why is it important?  What’s your  motivation?  Does this align with your values and the bigger picture for yourself or your business?

Time Bound:  WHY is this the best timeframe?  Think about what could delay you hitting your goals and plan for the potential obstacles.  Be realistic and have checkpoints to keep the momentum going and for accountability.

So, lets say your goal was to increase your sales by 15% during the first quarter of 2024.  Each month you need 10K – which breaks down to $2500/week.  This week you were only at $1720.

 Let’s go ask WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY

  1. Identify the problem – for example “we didn’t hit our sales goal this week”
  2. WHY? “Because people weren’t buying” – is that an honest look? Focus on facts, not opinions
  3. WHY? “there wasn’t enough inventory on the sales floor”
  4. WHY? “Because we were too busy being overwhelmed with everything coming in” – again, be honest….
  5. WHY? “Because our intake crew talks to each other too much & asks questions and interrupts each other”
  6. WHY? “Because they are worried they’ll price something wrong or are putting the wrong info in”
  7. WHY? “Because I’ve gotten upset in the past and have undermined their confidence in their abilities”
  8. NOW ANALYZE: that can be an eye opener when you get all the way down to it.  What do you do about it from there?  How are you going to handle the situation to get them over this fear?

Maybe it’s because you don’t have your best processors working at peak times or when you ask about why there aren’t sales it’s because the sales people aren’t actively engaging with customers to ask the right questions to see what they really need and leave them completely on their own once they hear “just looking” – never checking back in on them again. They walk out the door – not buying a thing…

Don’t always stop at 5 whys…keep it going until you hit the nail on the head.  It can help you identify areas for improving and streamlining your processes and make better decisions.

Here's how I use it every week…it’s kind of a combination of the two different ways of WHY.   I use it to drill down on what’s happening weekly and for the bigger goals I have.

Monday is check-in day.  April and I do a zoom and talk about client needs, what are the goals for the week, what we are working on, what we want to finish up, etc.  We each state 3-5 projects we want to finish in the next 5 days.

Thursday afternoon usually is the follow-up zoom.  We review what got done, what’s left to do, where we are struggling or need clarity.  Thursday works because it gives us a good check-in AND it still gives us one day left.

And then on Monday, it’s a little bit of a review – what still working on from the previous week.  And sometimes I have to look at my list and ask myself WHY – WHY – WHY – WHY – WHY

Sometimes the answer is

  • I’m waiting for an answer from outside of my control
  • Or I got caught up in other work responsibilities and never got back to it
  • Or sometimes it comes down to I just didn’t do it and I really don’t like those days or those answers…but it’s just being honest

And just like you all, I’m working on my goals list for 2024 – I think I’m on my 3rd or 4th draft because I keep using the WHY method to break it down and right now I’m in the middle of asking the WHYs for Relevant and Time Bound. 

I want to achieve and hit my goals just like you all do and like Neil has said, they aren’t sitting there just within arms reach – a couple of them are pretty lofty ones and I know when I go into my WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY…I stand a better chance to make it.

So, whether you use the WHY to solve & breakdown a problem OR set the goals…Either way…it’s good to be a SMARTY!