After deciding it was time to fully know every inch and crevice of my business, I ran across many "lost opportunities". I found a few hundred unused and undistributed bookmarks. I found that no one had cared about my T-shirt inventory of my "Love My Coconuts" and thrown it an open container. Check -- lost opportunities. Then I noticed that my own book California Girl Chronicles had been vastly under-estimated on available quantities, which is great for upcoming book festivals -- sort of lost opportunities but really more opportunities with less overhead. I also realized some inventory that was proposed as sold out was about as far from sold out as you can get. Other inventory that was supposed to have been properly disposed -- not so much.
The lesson as a business owner is to designate at least one or two times a year to inspect your inventory. Do not solely rely on staff who don't have the same level of interest or passion in your business that you do to report back accurately. Look for ways to create checks and balances that won't bog you down. Do surprise inspections. Hold people accountable. Make sure you have accurate reporting and transparency.
These requirements are things I implicitly provide clients. The fact that I am not insisting on them for my company is my own responsibility. If you want to avoid as my director of operations and marketing, Laura Sevigny calls an "expensive education" then you better stay out ahead of your company and what's going on. Requiring reporting mechanisms keeps all your ducks in line, quacking, and making you money.