Two woodsmen are entered into a famous wood cutting competition. One is big and strong, the other small and lean and both are known throughout the land for their skill with an axe.
The competition is long and strenuous – each participant must chop the most wood they can in a single day.
As dawn breaks, the two woodsmen charge at the trees and begin hewing with speed and skill. The work is hard and tiring and the bigger woodsman isn’t surprised to see that the smaller is taking a ten minute break after each hour of chopping. Filled with confidence about his greater stamina, the bigger woodsman just keeps on chopping. At the end of the day he turns to the crowd, expectant of victory – only to be confronted with a pile of wood twice as high as his own.
“How could you have cut down more trees than I did?” he asked. “Every hour you sat down to rest while I kept right on cutting. I don’t understand.”
“When I sat down I wasn’t just resting, I was sharpening my axe,” said the smaller, leaner woodsman.
If you can identify with the bigger woodsman it might be time to take a step back from the counter, find a quiet spot, and think about how you can make your business more efficient. It’s not just about working harder. Businesses fail all the time, even when they are run by diligent, hard-working people. If you want to succeed, you have to make smart, data-led decisions and be efficient about the application of resources and effort. If you want to learn how, you can sign up for the The Lean Retail 101 guide below. It’s written by our founder and it’s based on all the knowledge he’s gained founding and running successful retail stores and technology startups. We hope it helps!