Article of the Month
When the old way no longer works
I will be the first to admit that I do have some rather different ideas about running a business. Then again, as I have seen the traditional ways fail with so many businesses, as well as with mine, I have always been open to experimenting.
Consider this idea; the boss does not do the hiring! Instead, the best sales person hires the new sales people. The same idea applies to the other areas of your business.
Read the article for July 2009 and see how I have tested this theory in our business.
Click on Article of the Month to read this article.
Book of the Month
The very morning my copy arrived in the mail from George, I also saw several groups giving a 'tweet' about this book as well as a review from Business Week. George is one of us!
He gives an inside look at 25 of the very best independent businesses in the states. It won't matter which country you live in. The examples all give great ideas that can be applied to your business.
And if you take a look at our blog, you can hear an audio interview I did with George before the book came out.
We have more books to suggest for your reading. Click on Book Referral to visit this page on our site.
We have a lot of new information on the e-ret@iler conversations blog. We invite you to add your comments, ideas, and observations.
Visit our e-ret@iler conversations, find the category of interest and post your comments, questions or best practices. You may also go directly to one of our categories by clicking on one of the links below.
- Employee Issues
- Financial Management
- General Discussion
- Sales Techniques
- Vendor Issues
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1. Last minute reminder: National Independent Retailers Week - July 19-25
It is not too late to get your business and your community involved. We have heard several interesting stories from readers and recently did interviews with some industry trade magazines.
The artwork to create promotional material for the event is free and we suggest you use it to create window posters and bumper stickers. As the media contacts you, asking you to spend money with them, prompt them to promote the event. There is a lot of support information about why it is good for people to support local businesses on the website we created for the event. Take a look at National Independent Retailers Week and join the cause!
2. June conference call
The June call is on the website so you can listen for free. During the session I talked about advertising and why I think so many of us consider our advertising efforts to be a failure. There were some great conversations as well as one business sharing about their promotion of 'shotgun weddings'. If you missed the live call, take a few moments when you can isolate yourself at home or in the office to see if the ideas I share apply to you.
June e-retailer conference call
3. July e-retailer conference call
Barring unseen surprises, I am inviting you to join me for another free conference call on Thursday, July 23. There will be an announcement sent out about one week ahead of time, and a second announcement within a day of the call. As always, I am asking for your questions that you want to discuss.
The topic I am preparing is going to deal with inventory; too much, too wrong, and too little planning.
The dial in number and pin number remain the same. To participate you need to dial 1-218-339-4600 and upon getting the recorded message, enter the pin number of 270985#. Pressing *6 will mute your phone so that you can continue your work while you listen, and pressing *6 again will unmute your phone so that you can ask questions and participate in the call.
4. What I am hearing
In the past few weeks I have been speaking to a number of individuals that are Main Street managers around the states. The two concerns they are expressing are somewhat related in that they both have to deal with inventory. The first concern is that of too much inventory.
While this can come as a result of the economic downturn, it likely happens because the business is not using any format of inventory control. I am hearing of merchandise that is sitting in the store for a much too long period of time. If you want to get to making money, you have to get this old inventory - at any price - out the door and get that money back into action.
The second aspect I am hearing from these same folks is with businesses that are not paying attention to who their customers are. The businesses appear to be desperate for any customer and are stocking such a variety of items that you can't tell who their target customer is. In the tough economic times, I understand the business that would say they would be glad if any customer would walk in.
But the key to success is targeting a type of customer and having the things they want and need. As a customer is making a purchase, we want to see them buy several items from a store as compared to only one. I refer to this as the 5 to 1 ratio being better than the 1 to 5 ratio. A store wants to sell 5 items to 1 customer instead of 1 item to 5 customers.
And while we will talk about these issues in the July conference call, let me close with, "The better your niche, the more you get rich!"
Internet Tip of The Month
Return on equity
How much of the business do you actually own? It is not the whole business; instead it is the part of the business that is shown on the balance sheet as 'stockholder's equity', 'equity' or 'ownership'. This number indicates how much money the business owes to you. Of course, the amount changes each month as a business makes or loses money.
You can also total the assets, subtract what you owe to others and the remainder is your equity. The return on equity calculator helps you to see how well your equity in the business is working to earn more money for you.
Return on equity calculator
The Power Promoting Idea of the Month
Having an 'oldies' sale
This is from our original book; the blue book on page 48. In watching businesses that have an oldies sale, I can say that those that are successful are those that strongly get into the spirit of the event and have a lot of fun.
If you are using print advertising, use a font that has an antique look to it. If you are using television or radio, make sure you are consistent with the background music and that it has a sound that is appropriate to the time period you are trying to recreate.
Have your employees wear clothing that is appropriate for that time period. Have a contest with prizes for customers that do the same. Create posters that tell about events from that time period. I have seen several gift shops that sell books with tidbits about specific years. One of these books could be a big help.
One of the common elements I have seen has been the 'roll back prices to the good old days', but you could be creative by having all the prices end in certain numbers. As an example, if you are having a 50's sale, then the last two digits of all prices would be in the 50's. ($29.50, $32.51, $47.53, etc)
Look for historical societies, car clubs and similar groups to celebrate what they do so as to gather additional participation.
As you visit our resources center, you can order either of our power promoting books. One has a red cover and the other has a blue cover. There are also two books on 'power managing'. These books have a green cover and a yellow cover.
You can order your copy by clicking on the link below; each book is only $9.95 plus postage.
Profits Plus Resource Center
I want to alert you to a new tool that a friend of mine, Linda Cahan has created that can be very helpful to your business. It is a DVD that is nearly 3 hours long and has 325 photos. On this DVD, Linda covers:
100 display ideas for under $100
10 ways to renovate your store on a tight budget
Visual merchandising and display
Retail color psychology
Emotional and sensory merchandising
Mannequins, forms and props
Feng Shui for retailers
You can order yours for $59.95 plus postage from Linda's website:
Visual Merchandising 101: The Basics of Excellent Presentation