Mary Moore of The Cook’s Warehouse delivered a pantry’s worth of retailing advice during the Atlanta Fall Gift & Home Furnishings Market℠ and The Atlanta Gourmet Market®. Mary laid out her practical approach, essentially mis en place for business, during her seminar, Retailing in the Gourmet Business. Here are some of the key ingredients for success Mary served at her presentation:
Write down your company’s Mission, Visions and Value
Mission – 1-2 sentences about what you do every day, your fundamental purpose and why you exist.
Vision – Your ultimate goal for your business; a powerful, inspiring view of the future.
Values – Guiding principles that let your employees and your customers know where your company stands and what your company believes in.
Have a Business Plan
A business plan is the roadmap to running your business. It’s a great resource for raising funds, bringing in investors or selling your business if you choose to do so. In addition to the information outlined below, be sure to add your organizational structure (who reports to whom) as well as the store layout and design.
- Marketplace Analysis – Know your competitors: their strengths, weaknesses and locations in relation to yours; industry trends; and the size of market in which you’re competing.
- Target Market – Who is your ideal customer, how will you serve them and what products or services do they want and need.
- Competitiveness – How do you differ from your competition, how will you attract customers over them, how will you retain customers and what advantages do you have?
- Marketing, Advertising and Social Media – Use every possible outlet available to promote your business. Make a plan to reach your target audience and drive traffic to your business. Send out press releases whenever you have something to talk about.
- Technology – Invest in a website, POS system, management systems, etc. that will allow you to efficiently and effectively run your business.
- Philanthropy & Community – Be a great corporate citizen. Talk about how you will be involved and what you will do within your community.
- Growth Plan – Your development vision and how you will get there, along with any key milestones.
- Exit Plan – Not necessarily important for your business plan in obtaining capital but very important for you in planning the growth track of the business and your future.
- Financials – Current financials, performance trends, future projections, investor return and exit strategy. Do a break-even analysis.
Keys to Success
- Train, train and continue training your staff.
- Know your staff and reward them.
- Look at your financials at least quarterly and quickly fix anything that is out of line.
- Renegotiate contracts yearly (utilities, freight companies, other service companies, packaging, etc.).
- Review your inventory weekly to make sure you have what’s selling, and you’re moving out what doesn’t. If an item hasn’t moved in 30-60 days, remerchandise it. If it hasn’t moved in 60-90 days, mark it down and move on.
- Participate in vendor incentive programs, set sales goals together with vendors and negotiate special buys from them for your staff.