To be truly profitable, sales not only need to be increased but expenses need to be reduced as well. Every business has similar goals to achieve success but the paths they chose to get there vary widely.
Below are 10 steps you can apply now to improve your business:
1. Reduce Shrinkage: You may believe employee theft and shoplifting aren't a problem in your business, but simple pricing mistakes can also cost retailers quite a bit. The average shrink percentage in the retail industry is about two percent of sales. Learn to identify and reduce sources of shrink.
2. Increase Sales Opportunities: Whether you're up-selling to a customer or planning an expansion into a multi-channel environment, retailers should learn to notice and take advantage of every possible opportunity to sell.
3. Improve Customer Service: One easy way to better your business is to improve customer service. Retailers should develop customer-friendly policies, train employees to provide outstanding customer service, and learn how to create customer loyalty.
4. Add New Products or Product Lines: One way to keep customers returning to your shop is by offering new and exciting products. When adding new products or expanding product lines, keep in mind that not only should there be a demand for the item, but it must also be profitable and something you enjoy selling.
5. Buy From Vendors with Best Value: The vendor who sales an item at the lowest price isn't necessarily the vendor you want to buy from. When selecting a supplier, consider shipping, terms of sale and other factors to determine the vendor with the best value. These small details may erode a retailers bottom line.
6. Increase Marketing: How often have you said you can't afford to advertise right now? Maybe once business picks up you'll place an ad. Or maybe you're holding those advertising dollars until the holiday shopping begins. Either way, you could be losing potential customers right now. Begin tailoring your marketing efforts to your target audience. If you don't spread the word, no one will know you exist.
7. Lower Expenses: To better your business and return more profits to your bottom line, learn where you can cut operating expenses. Look around your shop. Could buying instead of leasing save money? Are you outsourcing something you could easily do?
8. Get Out of the Store: Attend a trade show or other retail expo. These conferences are developed in order to give retail owners, buyers and managers the opportunity to meet existing suppliers, conduct business meetings, network with others in retail and investigate new products.
9. Add One New Time or Money Saving Piece of Technology: Every time we invest in a new piece of technology, we're always amazed at the results and wonder how we lived without it for so long. Find one new money or time saving piece of technology to implement in your store this year. For example, if you are using manual cash registers, consider a POS system.
10. Provide Training for Staff: Once you've determined how to best implement the nine ways to better your business listed above, pass that information on to your staff. Your retail employees are the ones on the front-line every day and should be trained to reduce shrink, improve customer service and increase sales opportunities.
What other steps do you feel are imperative to increase the success of business owners?