Saturday, January 15, 2011

Listen and Learn From Others...they really like to help

There we were in November 2008 with only one income. Not the age to collect, not the age to be hired particularly, if we even wanted to be hired somewhere, but with a small successful retail business that we were still rounding the learning curve with. The key word there is successful. We needed to keep it successful.

One of the first things I did was draw on my marketing background and from some very smart people that I had met at a few networking events to realize that there was something to the social networking or “new” marketing as I referred to it. I had explored some, created accounts in some but I was not focused or working any of them. Thanks to people like Gayle Tabor who is part owner of Glynnes Soaps and owner of Biz Buzz Social who sat down with me and helped me understand Twitter and to Action Coach Reggie Shropshire who reinforced the value of these “Free” marketing tools such as Facebook, Merchant Circle, and Twitter for networking and brand building. I’m a good listener and quick learner. My advice is to take every offer of assistance seriously and make time in your already busy business schedule to learn from others.

One of the first things Mike did was look at our expenses. Wow…we needed to give ourselves a military high and tight buzz cut. We were ordering too much art with each artist order. We were using our credit line to seasonal buy in quantity. We had too much on our shelves. We were doing very little true sales projections. Our packaging supplies were over ordered. We agreed to advertising opportunities too readily. We ate out too much. We were buying and giving our logo brand t-shirts away. The list went on… Mike’s advice is list your expenses or print them if you are using a program like Quickbooks and go down the list to see where a change can be made even a small change to start.

For us it was inventory. We were paying for art that might last us 2-3 months on display or in stock on shelves above the shop. We adopted the not so new JIT - Just In Time order philosophy. Each time we had to order we negotiated lower minimum order requirements from our artists and Net 30 terms. We might order more often through the year but we would not be tying up cash and we had a month to sell it before we had to pay for it. From end of year 2008 to end of year 2009 our inventory valuation dropped 37%.

That was a step in the right direction and only one of the steps we took moving into 2009.

Our advice…take some steps in 2011 to continue your success and be open to advice and help from others.

post 3 of It's a new year, it's a new blog...