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August 2014
Volume 15 Issue 9
Tom arms out
Article of the Month

Creating an open house
by Tom Shay

If you are a store front retailer, this article of the month is for you. The article shares a bunch of ideas from various retailers who have created an event to show off what is new in their business.

It may be the first of August, but the holiday selling season is close enough that you need to be planning how you are going to get your message to your existing and potential customers.

Read this article and learn from the experience of those who have successfully had an open house.

Click on Article of the Month to read this article.

Book of the Month

The Starfish and the Spider
by Ori Brafman and
Rod Beckstrom

Thank you to the landscape business owner I met last month in North Carolina during an educational program tour.

I had mentioned, 'The Flight of the Buffalo' as one of my favorite books. This person asked if I had read this month's book which I had not.

This book is demonstrating how an organization (your business) can work better when it does so in a 'leaderless mode'.

This is a problem I see happening with too many businesses. The owner is not being the leader/entrepreneur that they should be and at the same time is busy being the manager of the business; even if they have hired a manager.

The book is a good read. It will be worth your time.

Also note a new link on the book referral page. It links you to Powell's Book Store in Portland, Oregon. It is a great place to buy your books, and it is another independent.

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

Social Media

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

Thanks for a great 2014 Independent Retailer Month

The 12th edition of Independent Retailer Month is now in the books. This was by far the best year ever with regard to the support and participation of businesses in the USA, Canada, and Great Britain.

The event started in 2003 when I wanted to create an example of how a business could get attention for itself by creating 'an event'. 

My thought was that as a restaurant could make a great event out of 'national chocolate cake day' and a fast food stand could make a great event out of 'national ice cream cone day', then others could as well.

The event was created so that others could see how easy it is to garner some attention for their own business by way of the products or services offered.

The highlight of 2014 for me was receiving this photo from Times Square in New York.

Times Square

While it may have started in our office, the credit for making the event grow to this extent goes to Kerry Bannigan.

Kerry, while we have never met face to face, is a tireless worker, very talented and creative, and a tremendously valuable partner in this. The event would never have grown to this extent if she had not called about five years ago.

How about your business? Now is the time to plan to get involved for next year. Here is the link to get involved for 2015.

Here's the link to get involved

retailer month


E-ret@iler conversation for July had Phil Perry, the syndicated magazine columnist as our guest. Phil has written thousands of articles in the past 34 years. If you read the trade magazines, print or online for your industry (and you should), you have most likely read multiple articles from Phil.

He maintains a catalog of over 400 experts that he can call to ask their opinions and knowledge about any topic and how it relates to your business.

If you missed the live event and would like to hear the interview with Phil, you can follow this link.

E-retailer conversations

What's next? The August e-ret@iler conversation will have Bill Kendy and me visiting with Karl Stearns on the topic of digital engagement with your customers.

This is a great topic for everyone. We will discuss Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, and other digital means of engaging your customer.

The September e-ret@iler conversation will bring Don Schwerzler to the program as we discuss the very important topic of transitioning out of the business. Whether you want to sell your business or transfer it to the next generation, this is relevant to every business.

As Don and I agree, even when a person is first thinking about 'getting the doors open' to a new business, whether it is service, store front or Internet, the owner needs to be planning for the 'back door' and how they are going to get out of the business when they want to do so.

Karl's program is scheduled to be August 14 and Don's visit is scheduled for September 25.

Tom Signature

Internet Tip of The Month

Small business self evaluation

The first time I was asked to visit a community and spend time with a number of businesses, I knew that the time with the business owner needed to be maximized.

It had been my experience to observe an expert visit a business and spend the majority of the time together just 'hearing the story' of the owner and the business.

When I am schedule to visit a community I send this self evaluation to the owner and ask them to answer as many questions as possible. With the answers I can learn a lot about the business and the owner before I even see the business.

As an example, it is easy to see how much time the owner spends on answering the questions. This speaks to their ability to separate themselves from the business.

With the answers, there are not right or wrong answers, but most people tell me they get a 'good feel' about where their business should be because of this exercise.

My schedule might not have me coming to your town, but let me invite you to utilize this self evaluation to learn more about your business. And take your time, this is important and will tell you a lot about yourself. 

Small business self evaluation


The Power Promoting Idea of the Month

A joint effort with the local blood bank

Our community recently had an awesome event that was created by a local small business. They got a tremendous amount of publicity, more than they could have ever purchased, and paid so very little to get it. Here is their story.

Local radio stations have been playing a lot of public service announcements (PSA) for the blood bank stating that they have more needs in the summer and that the reserves were low.

The business decided to start a blood donor drive. The event was a weekday morning; it was a weekday that was traditionally very slow business wise.

They found local restaurants that would donate food for the donors. They teamed with a screen printer who created and donated t-shirts for the donors.

They found a construction company that owned large cranes. Two cranes were brought to the local business. The top ranked radio station in the market agreed to do their morning drive time show from atop platforms that were hung from the cranes. As the show had a female/male combo for announcers, so one announcer was on each platform.

The radio station created a competition of who could get the most donors. If you donated, you got to tell listeners about your business.
There were over 200 donors on that day. The announcers talked about the event for weeks and when they did, the business that started the event was always mentioned.

You can't buy power promoting like that. So, what can you do with your business?

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