Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Saturday, May 19, 2018

shifting retail industry/ scaling your business

Nov. 25, 2017 "Braving the tides of a shifting retail industry": Today I found this article by Merge Gupta-Sunderji in the Globe and Mail:

The rules are changing for those who aspire to carve out a place for themselves in the online marketplace

Sears and Amazon – two retail giants with remarkable track records of financial success – yet, one is now at the doorstep of demise and the other is on a trajectory that seems only to be moving upward.

If the online marketplace has rendered the traditional in-store shopping experience on the brink, then how are the rules changing for those who aspire to work in the retail environment?

Since it is Grey Cup weekend … Consider the role of the quarterback. There was a time when quarterbacks would almost universally complete passes from the pocket, relying on the offensive line to protect them, so as to stay upright and pass downfield without much risk of being hit or injured by the defence.

The most important skills for a quarterback were a great throwing arm, accuracy and the ability to scan the entire field for players who were open for the touchdown pass.

In the world of professional football today, the expectations on a quarterback have changed.

Sure, the fundamentals are still important, but it’s just as essential to be mobile to avoid pressure from the defence and, if necessary, complete the big throw downfield while in motion. Nowadays, with a few notable exceptions, most typical quarterbacks are valued more for their athleticism and speed, for their agility in adapting quickly to changing situations on the field.

That, when you think about it, isn’t that much different from what is happening in the world of retail. If you’re a worker relying on skills that made you successful a decade ago, then you may also find yourself, much like Sears, at the edge of extinction.

What will it take to thrive in retail? So what exactly are the career skills needed to adapt and thrive in the changing retail landscape? While the clichéd welcoming smile and positive attitude criteria may still be true, it’s certainly much, much more.

When comparing Sears with Amazon, the obvious shift is that traditional retail is being replaced by options that promote less interaction with people and more interaction with systems.

That means digital skills – web support, software development, even the ability to write code and program – are paramount. In other words, invest in more technology learning.

In an online world, writing concisely and compellingly becomes crucial.

The ability to write is, essentially, the ability to communicate online. Whether you’re composing web copy, sending e-mails or even documenting telephone interactions, how you write matters.

Like it or not, people make assumptions about your intelligence, your ability to get the job done and your credibility based on your writing . So learn how to write and you’ll position yourself as a valuable asset in a technology driven retail environment.

Another key proficiency: thoughtful, yet agile, decision-making.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, has pinpointed two kinds of decisions – Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 decisions are not reversible and, therefore, require great care before action.

Type 2 decisions, on the other hand, are like walking through a door: If you don’t like the outcome, you can always go back. Your career success will lie in being able to differentiate between the two.

There are two other factors that are particularly relevant in increasingly system-driven environments, such as retail.

First, an immense amount of data are being amassed and classified; that means that it is essential to be able to rapidly absorb and analyze vast quantities of information, to separate the necessary from the nice-to-know. So find ways to demonstrate and showcase your cognitive abilities.

Second, a growing shift toward collaborative decision-making. While working in teams is certainly not new, what is gaining prominence is intellectual humility: a willingness to consider and accept that other people have valid (and perhaps even better) ideas and solutions than you might. If you can demonstrate intellectual humility, coupled with a problem-solving mindset, you offer a very powerful combination to the world of retail.

Dec. 15, 2017 "How to transition smoothly when scaling your business": Today I found this article by Sheetal Jaitly in the Globe and Mail:

Founder and CEO, software design and development company TribalScale, Toronto.

You don't scale a business from zero to 100 employees in under one year without experiencing some bumps and growing pains along the way. Starting a company is exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time, and growing your business without breaking it is tough.

It's even tougher when you realize that there's no one playbook for every founder and company to follow.

Here are five steps we took to ensure we transitioned (relatively) smoothly while scaling our business and team.

Have rituals

At 9:15 every morning, someone rings a gong in our office. All employees gather in a standup circle to share pieces of news, kudos, individual failures or screw-ups, and announcements.

Even if that gong doesn't ring at 9:15, people still gather to do morning standup. Call them rituals, practices, processes, whatever you want, just make sure you have them right from day one. Do the things that make sense for your team and business. Create and foster them so that no matter who comes or goes, you will always have them.

Hire fast, fire faster

Adding the right people to your team as you scale your business is critical. A bad hire won't only set you back productivity-wise, it can also be harmful to your ever-changing and developing culture.

To avoid being stuck in this vortex, adopt a hire-fast, fire-faster process. This sounds ruthless, but consider it one of the pain points you'll have to endure if scaling quickly is your top priority. In the long run, everyone is better off.

Have a solid plan …

To ensure we didn't break on the finance and operations side, we laid out a comprehensive road map across the business that covered top-line sales/revenue, expenses, and even head count.

Even today, we're always closely tracking the health of the business and how we're moving toward the aggressive growth targets we've set for ourselves.

… But plan for the unexpected

More importantly, however, is understanding that all businesses evolve in ways you just can't plan for, so maintaining a high level of adaptability and flexibility and being able to course-correct quickly is key to scaling without falling apart – an "expect the unexpected" state of mind.

Work hard, play harder

If you're in one, you know all too well that they don't call it the "startup grind" for nothing. But just as it's crucial to work hard and "hustle," it's also important to put work down and have fun. We host quarterly team events such as beach days, boat cruises and karaoke nights, and Friday socials, because we know that team building is incredibly important, whether you're a team of five or a team of 75.

Anyone can start a business, but it takes a huge amount of effort and guts to scale the business up. Every company is different and, like most things in life, there is no one true way to ensure yours doesn't break when scaling. The path forward is challenging and fraught with uncertainty, but I promise it will be one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences of your life.


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