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July 2011
Volume 12 Issue 8

Article of the Month

Fighting City Hall
Tom Shay

The story of this month's article did not happen yesterday - to me. It does happen everyday to many businesses. It is the challenge of dealing with the government. This past week I have heard of two instances where challenging situations by state government mean some businesses face the possibility of not being able to open their doors.

Even when you do get past the challenges, the issue is that all the time you have taken to resolve the issue is time taken away from your business.

Click on Article of the Month to read this article.

Book of the Month

Generational Selling Tactics That Work
by Cam Marston

Cam knows his stuff about how the generations interact. This book just came out and I recommend it as a way to understand your employees and your customers.

Click on Book Referral to visit this page on our site.

e-retailer conversations

Hey, we are blogging, tweeting, facebooking and invite your participation.

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 ManagementGeneral DiscussionMerchandising
Sales Techniques
Vendor Issues

And you can follow my daily posts on Twitter and Facebook.
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Contact Us

Profits Plus
P.O. Box 1577
St. Petersburg, FL
33731 USA
(727) 464-2182 Voice
(727) 898-3179 Fax

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Business Advisory

This is my initial blog entry for Independent Retailer Month which begins July 1.

Defining an Independent Retailer

Traveling between my two home towns, you pass through communities that can be defined as small, smaller, and very tiny. Within these communities you will see signs of those who believe in their community; not just by their words, but by their actions and their money.

Not unique to these small communities, these believers can be found in large cities and mid-size cities; these believers will step into action anywhere there is a number of people who are looking for something. In a community or neighborhood, you will find these individuals and the results of their efforts.

These are the people who have opened a small business. This person, who has chosen to open that small business, is saying to their community, “I see a need and am going to help. I will create that business, take the gamble, and help my community.”

The business may be a pharmacy, a hardware store, grocery store, auto parts store; one that sells clothes, shoes, toys, bicycles, lamps or any number of items that people use. The business could be a hairdresser or the person that cuts the grass or landscapes your lawn as the independent retailer takes on many shapes and sizes.

The business they chose to create will be unique as the products and services they offer are tailored to the wants and needs of those that live in the area. The owner of this business will ask the residents what they are looking for and how that business can make the lives of customers more enjoyable. The business is likely to change as the community changes as well as when the residents develop new wants and needs. The owner of the business is easily adaptive to the community because that business owner lives in the community.

The person owning that small business is also going to be active in their community by participating in the merchants association. This person will be among the first to join in any effort that makes the community better for those that chose to live there. It may be creating a park, supporting a youth sports team, doing something for the children attending the local schools, or helping a local house of worship; this person will be there to support and help their community. Their investment in the community goes far beyond the business they have opened.

The independent retailer is a cheerleader for the community. This person can find the good in everything; they are proud of, and a proud member of their community.

Another word for ‘belief’ is ‘gamble’, for opening this business is truly a gamble. There is never a guarantee that the new business in the community will succeed. The owner expresses their belief by taking their personal money and investing in the creation of the business. The money may come from what has been saved over the years; the money may come from mortgaging or selling their home to make this investment in the community. It is an investment that says, ‘I believe in this community’.

Unlike those that have jobs working for a business, these people have no guarantee; no promise of a paycheck at the end of the week. They are doing what they do because they want to help their community. They do it because they are very talented individuals that have a strong sense of being an entrepreneur to their endeavor. Owning the business is a challenge they thrive on. You can see the enjoyment of the challenge in the smile they greet their customers with as the customer comes into the business.  You can hear the excitement of their business in their voice as they visit with the customer.

Doing business with this independent retailer is sheer enjoyment because that retailer truly appreciates and enjoys their customers; their neighbors.

As consumers within a community, there is no responsibility to shop with a locally owned business. It is not ‘the duty’ of residents to support the business. Instead, the locally owned business works hard to invite individuals to visit the store; to be greeted and waited on by their fellow residents.

This shopping experience will be one that is unique to each locally owned business – you won’t find the same products, services, staff, or atmosphere in any other business. It will be like walking through a forest and listening to all the birds that live there. What a dull world it would be if all the birds sang the same song!

This is what the independent retailer brings to the community.


e-ret@iler conversations conference calls will continue to be free to everyone in Canada and the US. The call for July will be Monday the 18th at 8pm eastern.

The July call is going to start with the children's game of 'King of the Hill'. Do you remember playing that game when you were a kid? We will discuss how this game applies to businesses today. We will discuss how a business needs to work toward finding their place in their marketplace by knowing what the hill is,who the king is, and most importantly, what part of the game they can play.

Follow this link to the page which indexes all of the previous e-ret@iler conversations conference calls.

E-ret@iler conversations

Internet Tip of The Month

What's a customer worth?

As I read last month's suggested book, Chris Zane's Reinventing the Wheel, I noted that Zane has done a calculation just like one of those on the Profits Plus website. It is a calculation that tells you how much the customer is going to spend in your business over the lifetime of their shopping experience with you.

Let me suggest you do the math using this tool and then print the results. Post those results in a location where all of your staff will see it. The calculator is designed to help them, and you, understand the value of a customer. It is my hope that there will be those that see it does not make financial sense to have all those 'customer service policies' which dictate to the customers.

Instead, being open minded and understanding that today's purchase is but a part of the overall purchasing experience a customer will have with your business.

'What's a customer worth?' calculator

The Power Promoting Idea of the Month

Do you want to play a game?

While I am not sure I have the line from the movie quoted correctly, I have seen this idea in businesses over the past twenty years. The reminder for using it this month comes from my friend Paul who owns Broadway Video in Seattle.

Every day Paul posts a trivia question from a movie. Guess the answer and win a prize. If you do not know the answer, you can come back tomorrow to see the answer as well as see the next trivia question. In times I have visited with Paul, I have observed people that came into Broadway Video with the 'initial invitation' being their desire to play the game.

In addition to questions about movies, I have seen businesses that use Trivia Pursuit as the source for their questions.

In the red power promoting book, the second promotional book I wrote, this is idea #26.

You can find more ideas like this in our promotions books. You can order your copy by clicking on the link below; each book is only $9.95 plus postage

You can find more ideas like this in our promotions books. You can order your copy by clicking on the link below; each book is only $9.95 plus postage.

Profits Plus Resource Center


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PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179