Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Helping the Independent Retailer Succeed

“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.” – Neils Bohr

Whenever I make a mistake, I am usually the first to admit it. Probably makes me unique. But if you’ve been near me when I goof, you’ve heard me say, “Not the first time I made a mistake, certainly won’t be the last.”

After growing up in a retail family and spending 16 years running a top level independent retailer, I’m now the guy Neils Bohr was talking about. Yes, a bona fide expert in independent retailing. And I’m here to share my experiences with you.

I’m launching a new website just for the independent retailerhttp://www.philsforum.com/. There is so much a business owner needs to know to run a successful retail operation.

You have to be great in four categories.

Great Products – having the right products in the right amounts merchandised the right way at the right prices to make your customers happy and make the registers sing
Great Customer Service – providing a top notch experience for your customers through a fabulous, well-trained, friendly and caring staff with customer-friendly services and attitude.
Great Marketing – getting the word out about your business in a consistent and well-planned manner with a powerful message that connects deeply and drives traffic through the doors
Great Financials – knowing where your money is and what it is doing to help you succeed

Rare is the independent retailer who is strong in all four categories.
Few have mastered even three.
Most independent retail owners are strong in only one or two.
All think they know more than they do (except for the smart ones among you)

The truth is we all need to keep learning.

Even a guy like me is still learning. I’m constantly trying to become better in every category above. And, having made and learned from a bunch of my own mistakes (not to mention the mistakes of others), I can say I’m pretty close to becoming one of the Few.

No, I’m not a financials kind of guy. Talk to your accountant on that. But I do know about Marketing, Merchandising and Customer Service. Stuff that has elevated Toy House and Baby Too to be recognized as one of the 25 best independent retailers in America.

Now I’m going to share our secrets.

The website is loaded with freebies – ebooks and articles you can download and start using right away. This blog is there, too. I’ll be writing to give you insights and new perspectives on the world of retail and how to grow your business.

I’m also looking for your feedback. What hot button issues are graying your hairs? In which category do you need the most help? What topics do you want me to cover?

Your success is the goal. I already have a successful business. My purpose is to help you get there, too.

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