Sue Smith,
CBA Board Chairman

Moving forward. When it came time to title this column, it didn’t take me long to decide. Movement forward seems to be always in my focus—personally, with my physical health, relationships, and spiritual growth; professionally, as a leader and growth of the business are consistent goals on my dashboard. People who are wired this way know it’s a drive from within because they can see the big picture. They can see the future, see what’s possible with a lot of hard work. But it’s the steady and reliable work of getting there that’s the biggest hurdle for us. We “spatially” minded folk are not great at the details of how to get there. The specifics are almost irritating to us. But, knowing that all goals need to be both measurable and attainable, we find the best detail-minded team players and slug it out.


One thing stands out from this past year in creating sustainable success for our business. If we wanted to experience significant progress toward our goals, we needed to be intentional about the work we’re doing every day. Every detail matters. Executing details and communicating details every single day while keeping the vision in mind is key.


Our store has over 18,000-square-feet of shopping floor. Keeping inventory counts of about 70,000 SKUs accurate is a challenge. The most effective solution is to cycle count inventory in every department, every day. As you know, it’s slow, meticulous, and boring. This retail chore does not delight us or bring instant gratification. That’s why we failed. It was easy to lose our intention when we lost track of the big picture. Falling behind costs us time and money. It also costs our customers an excellent customer experience.

We have figured out that two things are working if we work at them unfailingly: Marketing to specific target groups and developing church business.

When we strategically market to a specific buyer (fiction lovers, grandparents, administrative assistants, etc.), then we see great gains at the register over marketing the store to the general public. When we get out and meet with churches regularly, their loyalty strengthens, along with our bottom line.

Best-selling author and motivational speaker Marcus Buckingham is known to say, “Sustained success means making the greatest possible impact over the longest period of time.” The truth of that success is not a one-shot deal, but a series of committed action steps toward the goal.

I call that movement forward.