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August 2013
Volume 14 Issue 9

Article of the Month
Doing more with less
Tom Shay

The initial example in the article of the month is shelving in the storage area of a business.

The example is appropriate all across any business. A couple of years ago I visited with a business owner who is well known across the continent for his very profitable business.

As his industry continues to struggle, his comment to me was, 'What were we thinking?'

'How did we as business owners ever think that we could just do anything we wanted and there would be a profit as well as cash in the checking account?'

Let me invite you to take a look at the shelving example, and others, to see how it could apply to your business.

Click on Article of the Month to read this article.


Book of the Month
How to win customers and keep them for life
by Michael LeBoeuf

The title says enough. One of the comments I have made is that too many businesses insist on starting all over with each customer visit or contact.

Why aren't businesses making the extra effort  once a customer has done business with them? It is easier to do business with a customer a second time than to start all over.

Unfortunately, each start over often requires a special price to attract the customer. This does not make sense.

Click on  Book Referral to see the complete list of small business books we have found that can 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 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

Confession: Why I went to Amazon

I cringe at telling (confessing) this story because I so want independent businesses to succeed.

Independent businesses are like snowflakes in that every one is different. Each provides a different experience in large part due to their individual owners.

While that has the potential to be their advantage, it often becomes their challenge. Someone opens or buys a business. Within the limits of the law, they can operate it any way they want.

While I believe this to be an extreme, this picture agrees with my last statement. Perhaps this picture also shows the challenge with an independent business. You definitely are not going to see this sign on any chain store. Their staff might not be good at customer service, but they definitely cannot say things like this to a customer.

My story is that I went to an independent to purchase a new CD. Unlike food or medications, a CD is not a necessity of life. Most of what any business sells - product or service - is not a necessity of life.

That means what you sell is purchased with a person's discretionary income - money that the person spends only because they want to.

When that person is doing something they want to do, it should be pleasant if not fun for them. If the business is not going to make an effort to help the customer have that experience, a customer is likely to default to the business that has the lower price.

In my case, the alternative was forced on me because the clerk was unable to find the CD I wanted in their system - even with my knowing the title of the album and artist as well as the initial release date.

Coming home disappointed I ordered the CD online. Amazon was not fun. The local shop was less than fun with a staff person that did not know how to use their system. Nor did they ask any of a number of fellow employees to help take care of a customer that wanted to buy a CD. 

I do not like doing business with a chain store or big box. With the Internet my preference is a website of some independent business I have enjoyed visiting in person.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we changed dry cleaners last month because of the number of times my shirts came back with buttons broken or missing. Even with repeated trips of returning shirts, and the staff putting a note on the account to check the buttons, the problem repeatedly happened.

With the first trip to the new cleaners, I had put a button that had come off in the pocket of a suit. Taking the suit to the cleaners, it was forgotten to ask them to sew the button back.

However, when the cleaning was picked up, the staff at the new cleaners had found the button and sewn it on for me. I am really happy with the new cleaners.

I wonder how many people find the competition forced upon them because of the attitude of a local business.


In addition to the article of the month that appears in each issue of the e-ret@iler, we create a monthly article on another small business topic, in a much shorter version.

We call it the SBA - small business advisory. It is created for usage by trade associations, chambers of commerce, merchants association, and main street programs. If you are a part of one of those groups, we invite you to sign up to receive the article which arrives in your email during the middle week of each month.

SBA registration


Steve Drake, cause marketing expert, to visit with Bill Kendy and Tom Shay on Thursday, August 15  


While I consider Steve to be a friend, I also admire him because he knows so much about business. Of all the daily news feeds that I get, this is the one that I am certain to take a look at. Everyday Steve Drake has something to share.

I do not know how he manages to get so many books read each month, but he somehow manages to point out some great ones.

This is an e-ret@iler conversation you will definitely want to be a part of. I can tell you that Steve was able to get his organization on NBC Nightly News all due to a cause marketing effort.

My belief has been that small business owners are very caring individuals for the residents of their communities. These owners are usually the first to make an effort to solve a problem, or do something that makes the community better.

While you may think it is simply what you should be doing, it is also referred to as 'cause marketing'.

Join us on Thursday, August 15 and hear a master tell you how cause marketing can also drive customers to your business.

If you missed the July conversation with Bob Nelson, this link will take you to the page on our site where you can listen to the recording or download it for your mp3 player.

E-ret@iler conversations

Internet Tip of The Month

What makes a financial statement?

What does it take to make your financial statement? In creating this calculator, Bruce Geroux (our info stud) and I, thought that when you saw a financial statement slowly come to life that you would likely understand the components of the income statement and balance sheet.

We invite you to take a look at another of our 41 free calculator tools. Bruce and I are confident you are going to find this to be of value to you.

The Power Promoting Idea of the Month

Can you take/give a hint?

Envision this scenario.

An individual is considering purchasing your product or service. The stumbling block to their making that purchase is their birthday, anniversary or other event coming up. Somehow we think we should not buy something for ourselves near one of those dates. We've all been through it before.

'I can't buy this now. My birthday is next week.'

That statement does make it challenging to close that sale. So, here's a tool to help get the customer past that challenge. The tool can also gain you a lot of future business.

The tool is a piece of card stock that is the size of two business cards. The card stock is folded on half with an imprint of 'Here's a hint honey' on the front.

The inside copy reads, 'While I was shopping at (name of business), I saw a (name of item or service) that I would enjoy. The person waiting on me was (name) and here is the contact information for the business: (name, address, phone, hours)'

The salesperson helps the customer to complete the card and explains that leaving this card in the appropriate place can produce good results.

When the card is brought back into the store, there is an excellent opportunity to ask about other significant dates and ask for contact information so the salesperson can easily make future sales.

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.




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