From an inventory standpoint, Monroe says they are now able to meet weekly or every other week to examine the products they are purchasing. They can look at products that have a longer lead-time for developing, when to exit products and how to segment them.
They can better understand the evolving needs of their core customer, as well as solutions that will appeal to a broader demographic. A president’s advisory council of the top consultants also gives opinions on any new product ideas.
With increased business intelligence, segmentation is being used with their sales consultants and sales forecasting, as well. They can understand how a sales representative who has been with the business for one month, six months or 18 months can be expected to perform.
“Now that we’ve got that data, we can start segmenting the data and segmenting our products for planning inventory,” Monroe says. “Then we can also segment our sales reps of where she is in the life of her business, to be able to help forecast our growth a little bit better.”
- Slowing rapid growth invests in your long-term reputation.
- Hire for where you’ll be, not where you are now.
- Take time to compile and analyze business intelligence.
The Monroe File:
Name: Cindy Monroe
Title: Founder and CEO
Company: Thirty-One Gifts
Born: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Education: Business degree with a focus in marketing from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it? I worked for a retail place that taught me customer service, but I didn’t have a really great job in high school that helped me.
After college, I worked for an insurance company in Chattanooga. I was able to move around to a couple of different roles there and get into product development and work with the executives across the business. It was probably my best experience that helped me be a leader today.
I learned how to pull a team together from the different parts of the business. We didn’t like to outsource operations. It helped me understand how the different departments come together — how they set out an objective, actually execute a plan, understand all the state regulations and understand the business side.
Was that the job that had the most influence on you? For my professional growth that was the biggest influence as far as helping me professionally set a bar for myself and see how people start to function as an organization.
I’ve learned so much from just doing and reading different books on how to be a leader, organizational effectiveness, the strength of an organization and so forth.
You’ve mentioned business books a couple of times. If you could tell people to read one business book, what would it be? It would probably be ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’ by Daniel Pink. That is my one book that I love, and I reference and I go back to.
There’s also Jim Collins; he’s got the new one, ‘Great by Choice.’ There are so many good ones out there, but the one that a lot of people may not be as familiar with that has really had an impact on me would be ‘Drive.’