Positive positioning

To hear Robin Levinson tell
it, keeping up business in a harsh economic environment is
easy.

“You just have to get creative,
be more on your toes and try
harder, and go along with
what’s happening out there,”
she says.

OK, she knows there’s a lot to
all of that. But she uses her
positive attitude to keep pushing Levinson Jewelers, the jewelry company owned and
founded by her and her husband, Mark, to more growth.
With many companies gasping
for breath, Levinson Jewelers
has grown to 35 employees and
is getting ready to open a new
store this month.

Instead of focusing on a climate where people are spending less money, Levinson keeps
her business up by keeping a
close eye on the details and letting her people laugh at the
hard times while she continues
to trust her instincts.

Smart Business spoke with
Levinson about pushing a
positive energy and why you
shouldn’t listen to someone
with a different shoe size than
you.

Push the positive atmosphere. We
try to bring a positive energy
every day and look at the
bright side instead of being
in the doldrums. We try to
keep our eyes open and not
be complacent — and try is
the operative word; it’s not
easy when you read the
newspapers and everything
out there is negative.

So when we go to work, we
put on our happy face and
try to just pump it up. If it’s a
bad day, tomorrow is going
to be a better day, and that’s
realistic, and you can’t live in
a bubble.

I can see in my own store
that the energy level is really
high, and that comes from
the top, and I don’t think it’s
a specific sentence or word
that I could say, ‘Do this,’ it’s
just the energy level that you
go along with. If you’re a
sour grape, everyone is going
to feel it.

When we have meetings,
we let them know that we’re
still pushing away, and that,
as a company, we’re holding,
and, as a company, we’re
doing OK.

You have to be honest, and
there are some days where,
just like everybody else,
you’re not going to be up,
you can’t be, no one is 100
percent up, that’s fake. But
when there are some days
where it’s quiet, we’ll sit
around and joke, ‘Oh, my
God, we need a sale; we
have to have a sale!’ And we
kind of have fun with it in a
way instead of being
bummed out.

Create systems to keep balance. You always have to strive to
become more efficient. You
have to keep the pencils very
sharp, and you can’t slack.

When things get big and get
busy, people have a way of
being neglectful about the
things that they should be
watching, so don’t let your
guard down in regard to the
back office and what’s going
on with the numbers and the
expenses.

It’s just about balance. You
can’t be everywhere all the
time. We all know that; that’s
not realistic, so you just have
to get a little balance and
you have to watch both
sides. You give a little attention to this and a little attention to that, and you’re not
going to see everything —
nobody is superhuman —
but you hopefully have
strong people in your organization that you trust and that
you rely on.

But you can certainly keep
your eye on the ball, and I
get very organized and I get
regular reports that I look at
for certain areas, and Mark
has certain areas that he gets
reports for, and between the
both of us, we’re watching
really accurately. Our
responsibilities are divided
pretty well, and I set aside
time so I know that every
week, or every two weeks,
those reports are coming;
that’s what I’m going to
focus on first.

You can’t let it go just to
one person because it’s dangerous, and I’m sure most
businesspeople would agree
with that. When you let anything completely go and you
just say, ‘Oh, they’ll handle
it,’ then you’re in trouble.

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