The last week in July was Retail Week in Northern Virginia, with many retail businesses attending pertinent Workshops throughout the area. As a follow-up to Retail Week, we present the following list for retailers, authored by our colleague Ben F. Salomonsky, Director of the Retail Academy at Hampton Roads SBDC.
- You will be solicited for donations before you make your first sale.
- People in your town will assume that you are rich, for you have your own business.
- Some days you will donate more to charities in your community than you will sell in a day.
- As soon as you figure out what your customer wants, they will want something totally different.
- Every lunch will be eaten standing up, and only one bite of a hot meal will ever be eaten while still hot.
- What customers say with their mouth is interesting, but what they say with their wallets is how they really feel.
- You will always remember the customer who managed to get under your skin, and got you to lose your control – even if you were correct.
- Every big event coincides with a terrible storm.
- Customers will have suggestions for every part of your business, ranging from what you should place in inventory, to what special events to which you should participate; what they buy or attend is an entirely different matter.
- You will work weekends and holidays. If you do not like it, do not go into retail.
- Simply because someone asks for a discount; that doesn’t mean that they won’t buy if you do not give them one.
- Nobody cares more about your business and you – than you.
- You will outsell your best salesperson – every time.
- Customers never read the small print on coupons.
- People think that because you own your own business, you have no boss. That is completely wrong, as the bills are your boss, your building is your boss, and every customer is your boss.
- Ninety-nine percent of the time, the “800 number” on your Called ID is a merchant-services telemarketer trying to get you to switch to them.
- Sometimes, a Tuesday night is the best day of the week, but other times – it will be a Saturday. There is often no consistency in retail.
- There will always be customers who won’t respect your store, products, or employees.
- Never discuss politics with your clients in your shop, or on your store’s social media page. You will be making half of your customers angry.
- You will fight a losing battle in trying to keep your backroom, stockroom, and desk organized.
- Without a sense of humor, you will never survive. If you survive, you will be miserable.
- You’re bound to get pitched by a Business Consultant who opens the conversation with, “My business failed; so, I switched to consulting.”
- The customer is NOT always right.
- There are many businesses out there to whose only motive is to rip-off and scam the small entrepreneur.
- Sales representatives lie – even the good ones.
- If you let your vendor substitute one item for another on an occasion, the next time, they will simply send you whatever they feel like sending to you. You may never again recognize your original Order.
- You will need to force any Marketing or Public Relations firm that you hire to be accountable, and you will need to fire them – when necessary.
- You will have to fire the friend that you were sure that would be a great business partner or employee.
- Balancing income with expenses is an art form to which you will rarely master.
- You will eat, sleep, breathe, talk, study, compare, worry, and probably be flat broke for quite some time.
- Twenty percent of your customers are responsible for eighty percent of your sales.
- You can always be told “No”, and always say “No.”
- Organization is a skill worth taking on. It’s what can make you, or break you.
- The longer that you own a store, the more difficult that it is to pay full-price anywhere for anything.
- You will rarely have a guaranteed day off, again.
- You will need to listen for what customers actually spend their money on, and not what they say that they want.
- You must study a location before you open your bricks and mortar enterprise. Going by your gut instinct is often wrong.
- You’ll discover that an employee that you loved during the interview is unable to do the job.
- The best parenting advice in the world does not mean a thing if you do not know what your baby needs. Your store is no different. Know your baby.
- Consistently terrific customer service will make your business thrive, but one bad (customer) experience, in the face of social media, can close your doors.
- Running a business is more difficult than you think that it will be, but you will rarely have time to notice.
As maddening as it all can be, the more that you learn, and the more that you know about your customers; it will be well worth it, and quite rewarding. You will make a difference in your community.