Intro: Simplify Business with the Inventory Genius Method

boutique business boutique business tools boutique ownership education coaching ecommerce goal setting growth inventory inventory genius product-based business retail simplify business series May 18, 2023
Ciara Stockeland sitting on counter in inventory based business; text

Today, I am opening up Simplify Business, a new coaching series on the Inventory Genius blog. Over the coming weeks, I will be tackling common inventory based business questions. Once I've laid out those questions, I'll use my Inventory Genius Method to break the answers down into simple steps. These bite-sized, actionable steps will give you one task at a time to understand, complete and implement in your own business. My hope is that over time, you will begin to simplify the way you look at your business model. You will have an effective business strategy you understand and can use to grow your business. You will be on your way to becoming an Inventory Genius and will be heading down the path toward profitability. 


Business coach Ciara Stockland working on inventory

So...let's start with a word. Simplification. And it's definition. Reducing any task to its basic elements. To minimize activities and tasks while being as efficient as possible. 

So why simplicity? Why am I deciding to focus on simplification? What's simplification got to do with profitability? How can it help inventory based business owners become Inventory Geniuses? With dozens of other business topics, methods and strategies to teach and to write about, you might be asking why I've chosen to create an entire method focused on simplification of the inventory based business model. Ironically, the thought behind my Inventory Genius Method was actually born out of one of the most complicated times in my life. 


Let me begin by telling you a title bit of my story. 

As a third generation entrepreneur, I have been creating, starting and launching business ideas since a very early age. I mean very early. Lemonade stands, backyard theatrical “programs” (tickets were only twenty-five cents!) and selling rocks to the neighbors were some of the business ventures that filled up the long days of summer during my childhood. Those little entrepreneurial experiments soon grew into more formal business ventures like a knitwear design company, a theatre troupe turned acting school, and eventually the launch of my first retail venture in 2006.

When I first opened the doors to my retail boutique business I knew that this time around, I wanted to build a notable brand. No more thought to inception – I wanted to build and really grow something. I wanted to create a household name. I wanted to be profitable. Therefore, when the opportunity to franchise my retail business concept came along, I felt this would be the perfect way to dig deep roots and to build a company that would become bigger than the idea itself. What I didn’t realize was that the day I began franchising, I was really launching an entirely new business (again) and that the way I would go about building the franchise operation would create a complicated, draining, exhausting and stressed life ahead. 


Like so many inventory based business owners I now have the privilege of working with, I was determined to win at this retail business game. I was so excited for the future. I was giddy with the feeling of growth and with the thought that if I could just buy the right things, I would sell all my inventory – every day, to all the people. I would be profitable. However, I soon learned that retail and inventory are much more of a science than art, and I was never good at science.

Now all this isn’t to say that my business wasn’t successful. In fact, over the next dozen years I grew a seven figure boutique retail business. However, as my business grew, my days quickly became overwhelmingly full of to-do lists, my weekends filled up with putting out all kinds of fires, I said yes to everyone and everything. My mind was always racing and my phone was always on. Nothing was sustainable.

And then the unthinkable happened. My business and everything I'd worked so hard to build was all pulled out from underneath me (another story for another day!). I found myself sitting on my coach, drinking gallons of coffee, grabbing for my box of tissues and a bottle of Tums, and wondering why I'd made all the effort. What was it all for? The awards, the accolades, the growth, the money - dreams had been reached and goals had been accomplished - but there had to be a better way! I'd make big mistakes, and I needed to figure out what had gone wrong. I needed to learn a different way. I needed a sustainable strategy.


Profit specialist and inventory genius, Ciara Stockeland, coaching clients virtually in front of whiteboard and behind ringlight

Fast forward just a few short years, and I once again found myself building another new business. But I'd made a giant shift as a business owner. I'd learned so much, and through doing so, I'd created an effective strategy and a method. This time I vowed to do it all differently. This time I would build simply. Simplification would be key. I would start with the numbers the first time around. I would build a strong foundation of truly understanding the numbers and then build on that foundation with the blocks of my dream schedule, understanding my super power, and I would hold these building blocks together with the mortar of defining what success looked like to me. Not how everyone else defined success, but what my success looked like. 

You see, building a business is hard work - but it doesn’t have to be complicated! It doesn’t have to consume our every thought and eat away at our every minute. Building a business correctly can be simple in its structure and sustainable in its practice. At its core, a successful business is all about understanding the basis of it all (our inventory and our numbers) while knowing what we truly want and using business strategy to create a plan that puts our goals into action. 


As a profit strategist and inventory based business coach, I have the distinct privilege of visiting with and hearing from hundreds of inventory based business owners every month. These are business owners who long for something better, and who are desperately crying out for some calm and sanity back in their every day. I keep hearing the same things over and over and over. “I don’t understand my inventory”, “Numbers scare and confuse me”, “I am meeting my goals but I never have any money”, and “All I do is work and I have nothing to show for it”. I watch as inventory based business owners continue to clamor for the next new course, or sign themselves up for just one more social media scheduling app, all the while continuing to come up empty handed, overworked, and yes, under paid! 

And this is where simplicity steps in. This is why simplification of our businesses is so important. If I could go back and talk to my younger boutique-owner self and tell her one thing, I would tell her to stop, to slow down and to just simplify. Simplify the way you tackle a task or the way you learn a new business skill. I would tell my younger business-owner self that customers will still come even if you don’t check your DM’s 24/7. I would tell her that small business is a lot of work, but it isn’t complicated. I would tell her it's possible to get out of the mess, to put a plan in place and to pay yourself. Success and profitability are possible.


Over the coming weeks, I'm taking a look at those questions that I know all inventory based business owners have. I'm breaking the questions down into simple steps. The bite-sized, actionable steps I'll offer will give you one task at a time to understand, complete and implement in your own business. And over time, you'll to begin to simplify the way you look at your business model. You'll be on your way to becoming an Inventory Genius and on the path toward profitability. You'll have a business strategy you can use.

As I answer these questions, I'll used my Inventory Genius Method to separate the questions and simplification process into three parts. First, we'll minimize workload. Then, we'll understand the pieces. And finally, we'll fall in love with it all. Here's a closer look at what you can expect from each part:

In part one of the process, we'll cover the simple approach to minimizing your business related workload. We'll work through how to get started, how to structure your days, what effective scheduling looks like, how to learn new business techniques and apply them, and how to simplify the way you've organized your inventory based business. We'll learn a simple approach to inventory and to getting things done when they need to be done. By the end of part one, you'll feel less overwhelmed and more in control of all the pieces involved in your business.

After we've minimized your business related workload, we'll start the second part of the simplification process. During part two, we'll dive into the simple approach to understanding your inventory based business. We'll cover sales goals, inventory, and budgeting. You'll learn to streamline each of these pieces. There's a simple approach to selling inventory fast and to finding profit in your business. We'll put it all together so that you have a complete grasp on how your business looks, what your numbers are telling you and where you need to shift, change and rework so that you can start moving and growing in the right direction. You'll be able to create more of a roadmap with profitability as your end goal.

Once you understand these key pieces of your inventory based business and have an overview of where you stand and where you need/want to go, we'll close out the simplification process with the simple approach to falling in love with what you do. Your business' sustainability depends in large part on your enjoyment of the work involved. But that also takes some effort and planning. During this part of the process, we'll cover how to say "no", how to practice self care, and how to unplug so that you can rest. You'll learn how to be very intentional with your time, your boundaries and your schedule. Steve Jobs said it really well, "The only way to do great work is to love what you do." I'll help you take the necessary steps to ensure you truly love your inventory based business. You'll be able to proudly claim that you love your work and the business into which you've invested so much.


Have you ever heard the phrase “a stitch in time saves nine”? Well let me tell you, as an inventory based business owner and retailer there is no truer statement! Creating simple processes to do things correctly the first time will save you so much time. You won't feel the constant need to go back and work to fix problems. You'll be able to truly enjoy the business you've worked so hard to create.

So, stay tuned! Read these Inventory Genius posts. Jump into the bite-sized, actionable steps that I'll offer. Use the strategies, practices, exercises and techniques to put a plan in place that will simplify the way you look at and operate your inventory based business. From time management, to posting on social media, to how you organize your office, continuing to simplify your daily routines will help eliminate the overwhelm and in turn create space for you to breathe again, laugh again and enjoy your business and the rewards of your labor. 


And after reading through this introduction, maybe you're ready to dive into the process all at once. If you'd rather breeze ahead of these posts and get going now, I invite you to get started with the Quickstart to Inventory Genius. The Quickstart is my keystone coaching roadmap. You'll dive into three modules that will quickly layout five things to focus on in your inventory based business. You can implement these five strategies right away in order to drive immediate profit. And with the Quickstart, I GUARANTEE that you'll double your investment through either making, saving, or finding that amount in PROFIT. The Quickstart really is the perfect way to get your inventory based business on the right track.

Get tips and trainingsĀ delivered to your inbox.

Weekly bite-sized advice from Ciara Stockeland.