Back in February 2008, the newly hired director of The Enterprise Group, Scott Fleming, invited all the alphabet groups in town to a meeting to discuss how we were supporting existing retailers in Jackson.
The DDA, SCMW, SBTDC, JLF, EDC, JCCC and MA were all there. I was there. Everyone but Scott himself who got called away at the last minute.
The question of the day was, "What is your agency doing to help indie retailers survive and stay in business?"
After seven people said, "Absolutely nothing," an idea was born - the Jackson Retail Success Academy (JRSA). Less than two months later we launched our first series of classes.
I was the only retailer sitting at that table that morning, so I was asked to come up with a curriculum (a healthy dose of customer service, marketing & advertising, inventory management, financials, and hiring & training). Ten businesses signed up for that inaugural class.
Over the next several years, we tweaked the class schedule to make it work better for the attendees. We had start-ups attend. We had new owners taking over old businesses attend. We had non-retail businesses who wanted the customer service, marketing and hiring segments attend. We had business coaches who wanted to learn new techniques for teaching attend. We had restaurants, online retailers, and home-based retailers attend.
The cool thing is that JRSA is still around and still getting better. The class schedule is shorter (from an original 10-week program down to 5 weeks now), but the content is better, tighter, and more focused.
A retailer who takes this class will have amazing tools they can use to fix almost any kind of retail problem.
Finally, a website with all the details is up.
Just like the class, the site is constantly being tweaked and will continue to get better. The retailers in Jackson ready to take their businesses to the next level are already checking it out and signing up for the next class starting in January.
What are you doing to grow your business?
PS If driving to Jackson five times is out of the question, but you still want to grow, I have a Road Show version of JRSA I can bring to your town. You only need to convince five businesses to sign up and find a place to hold the classes and I'll do all the rest.