Dec 4, 2013

Why the U.S. Antiques Trade Needs a National Association

One of W. Edward Deming’s most-quoted aphorisms is “you can’t improve what you can’t measure.” We have become a society of measurers: how much weight we lost, how many miles we ran, how much money we made, how much we can bench press.

If we have a goal to improve a certain aspect of our life, we generally use our past performance as a baseline to measure our improvement: i.e., “last month I walked 4 miles in an hour, now I’m doing it in 45 minutes”.

As antiques dealers, the only baseline that we have to improve our business is our own past performance. What we don’t know is what our numbers “should” look like. We have no idea what other dealers in our specialty are doing: what their sales levels are, what their payroll costs them as a percentage of sales, what their gross margins are, or how often they turn over their inventory. Those are not the kind of questions that you can ask a competitor. Read More

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