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July e-reta@iler newsletter features:
* Operating expenses as a percentage - Like a piece of pie
* Promoting: Are you watching the clock?
*the Welcomer Edge - a book recommendation
* Article of the month: Building a team
Join us for July 26: e-retailer conversation conference call
with special guest - Dave Doucette

July 2012
Volume 13 Issue 8
Article of the Month

Building the team
Tom Shay

Someone that disagrees with me is always welcome. Hearing their point of view is stimulating and causes me to challenge my thoughts and experiences.

This is true for everything except the contents of this article. Simply said, I have never heard a logical argument against the lesson sharing in the current article of the month.

The concept worked in our business; it has worked in the businesses I have taught it to, and it will work for your business.

Click on Article of the Month to read this article.

Book of the Month

the Welcomer Edge
by Robert Shapiro

It may be fun to watch a come-from-behind win in a sports event, but I do not think you want to do it in business.

Hence, it is the initial impression that you make on your customer that can give you a great advantage with regard to sales.

Let me invite you to take a look at this book and see how the way a sales person views the customer is so very important.

Click on Book Referral to see the list of small business books we have found that may be helpful to your business.

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 Management

General Discussion


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

2003-2012: Independent Retailer Month

Nine years ago during a presentation I was sharing about several special events I had encountered in my travels. There are several communities that honor their famous native children (like Jimmy Stewart in Indiana, Pennsylvania). Another community celebrates strawberries and a third celebrates whirlybirds. Definitely there are a lot of unique celebrations.

Research found a recognition of 'Mom and Pop business owners' and 'Small Business Owners'. Looking further I found all of these listed in the Chase Calendar of Events. The Chase book was available in libraries and many of the media had copies of the book. This was how the media could tell you the significance of each day of the year. I always wondered how those media people knew all of those events.

In the book by Chase there were instructions of how to submit your own event for recognition. It made sense that what I needed to create was something to recognize the independent retailers that I have enjoyed helping, as well as the independent retailer I grew up as.

With 2003, the event began as a week long celebration. The name was 'Independent Retailer Week'. The week I selected was the third week in July because of two reasons. The first was that it was a period of time that would not conflict with most retailer events. The second reason was that I selected the week containing the 21st because that was my grandmother's birthday.

For several years, the week continued because of my writing in this newsletter, the website we created for the event, and mailings that were sent to trade magazine and associations in North America.

I remember one of the Local First organizations asked as to why I would pick that week when they felt it should be the first week of the month. The group asked how I could pick the week of the 21st instead of the first week of July. My response was that only the US and Canada had a holiday that related to independence during the first week of the month. We envisioned this new event going global.

This confirmed my concern that it would be difficult for others to track because July 21st was not something everyone was going to remember. After the 2009 event, the decision was made that we would expand to become Independent Retailer Month.

After the 2009 event, I was contacted by Kerry Bannigan, a young Brit living in New York. She had promoted an independent week for the fashion industry in multiple cities with each city having their own week. It was her idea to put our two events together.

Kerry has been a great addition to the event. She is ambitious and has a lot of contacts with organizations that have become our sponsors. Kerry brought our first international connection in Clare Rayner.

The lead website is indieretailermonth and we are active in the social media. (Check the #indieretail hashtag on Twitter)

Some nine years after the start of our promotion, there are a lot more organizations promoting the cause of independents or shop local. Even American Express has created a special one day event in November. We are glad all these events have been created as there cannot be enough reminders to the public, in every corner of the world, of the value an independent retailer brings to their community.

As our newsletter is read by many in other countries, let me explain this is not a United States event; it is an event to be celebrated around the world. In other countries, it is their flag that is on the 'price tag'. You can click on the logo below to visit the site.

Plans are already being made for 2013. England was the first country to join the cause in 2011 and we are adding countries just as fast as we can find qualified individuals in those countries to be the advocate.


Jon Schallert was our special guest for the June e-retailer conversation conference call. As he visited with Bill Kendy and myself, Jon shared how he developed his 14 step process for a business, shopping district, or community to become a destination for customers. Jon's unique combination of strategy and tactics are applied to both online and physical businesses.

Here is a link to learn more about Jon Schallert

If you were not a part of the call, you will definitely want to grab the recording from the Profits Plus website. There is no charge for listening or downloading.

E-ret@iler conversations

July e-retailer conversation conference call
8pm eastern, Thursday, July 26, 2012

Currently our guest for July is scheduled to be Dave Doucette. I have known Dave for many years, first as an editor of one of the trade magazines I wrote for and later as a producer of a trade show.

You will receive an email announcement about four days before the July conference call, and again on the morning of the call.

Internet Tip of The Month

Operating expenses as a percentage

Financials are frequently a challenge for business owners to understand. That is why I spend so much time providing explanations of all this information. Let's take a look at all those operating expenses in your business to see if we can remove some of that mystery.

First we will discuss how the information is arranged. Allow me to suggest you put all the expenses related to advertising and marketing together as a group. A second group should be all of the expenses related to the occupancy of the business; this would be rent, property taxes, and all the utilities.

A third group would be everything related to payroll, including workman's compensation, benefits, salary, bonuses, and anything paid to or for employees.

The fourth group would be everything that is not in the first three groups. In addition to having sub-totals for each of the first three and a total for all of the operating expenses, these numbers should be stated as a percentage of gross revenue. Here's a reason why.

Envision that the gross revenue, or sales, represents 100% of a pie. From that pie, you begin to cut slices to pay for the various items. If you sell products, the slice of pie for inventory will surely be the largest slice.

Then we take the rest of the pie and begin to pay the operating expenses. The slice for payroll is likely to be the next largest slice and occupancy will be the third largest. You then expand this 'pie slice scenario' further to include all of the operating expenses.

The slice of pie you are most interested in would be the slice for 'net profit'. Through this example, none of the numbers have changed, but changing from numbers to slices of pie frequently helps someone to have a better understanding of their operating expenses.

Here's to a larger slice of pie for you! Take a look at the calculator on the Profits Plus website to see how this calculation is done.

Operating Expenses as a Percentage Calculator

The Power Promoting Idea of the Month

Having a 'clock' sale

We are not suggesting all of you add clocks to the product offering of your business. Instead, the suggestion - for both Internet and brick and mortar businesses - is that you first take a look at the sales history of your business by the day and the hour. Note carefully when you have the slowest periods of time.

With that information, time your specials to occur during those same time periods. It is an easy way to bring up these slower sales periods.

Does this idea work? Just drive down the road and look at the signs of restaurants and bars. You'll see ladies' night, happy hour, and all kinds of food and drink specials. The businesses create these to attract customers so their bar and kitchen staff are kept busy. After all, all the expenses continue even when you don't have customers.

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