A smart business owner understands the inherent value of goal setting in steering a growing business in the right direction. Unfortunately, figuring out exactly what the right direction is—and the road map to get there—isn’t as much of a no-brainer.

More than 80 percent of the 300 small business owners surveyed in the recent 4th Annual Staples National Small Business Survey said that they don’t keep track of their business goals, and 77 percent have yet to achieve their vision for their company.

This year, instead of setting mindless resolutions that you never plan on obtaining, why not try to make a difference. We have put together a list of twelve New years Resolutions that are geared to help improve your bottom line. Hopefully these important retail business resolutions won’t take YOU over a decade to become habit, because these resolutions represent the traits we all need if we want to achieve long-term, big time success.

If you’re stressed out because you put all your focus on the holiday sales season, don’t let this make you miss a huge opportunity — the chance to boost your retail sales after the new year, which is typically a slower time of the year for many.

Plenty of people will be heading into stores throughout the month of January to exchange unwanted items, cash in gift cards or spend gifted money. With the right approach and some advance planning, you can continue to capture their attention, and their dollars, well into the new year.

window-displayCreative window displays are an ideal way to set your business apart from the competition. Windows are the billboard of your store, according to Tony Camilletti, of store-design firm JGA Inc. in Southfield. They’re a place to emphasize your unique identity, advertise merchandise and catch the attention of shoppers.

So how do you make a traffic-stopping display? The possible subjects are endless, but the key is to focus on a product or theme, not simply exhibit a collection of items.

Following basic design principles will enhance your displays. Here’s some advice from professionals like Camilletti, Denise Schroeder of Image Accomplice in Harrison Township, and freelance window dresser Kim Slocum from Pinckney:

wrong-employeeWhen you hire someone for a role in a small company, you can’t forget that you’re also hiring him or her to be a brand ambassador for your store. Their interactions with people and supporters may sometimes be the only impression you get to leave them with, so make sure it counts for the right reason. The best way to increase your numbers is to have a charismatic employee that will approach customers and leave a great impression with them. Ultimately, every hire in your early stages should be just as passionate and invested in the success of the company, because it not only impacts everyone’s future but also your startup’s survival.

gift certificatesSo now you have a Vintage Clothing Retail Boutique of your very own and you are wondering why your sales seem to have gone backwards during this Holiday Shopping Season instead of moving forward. You notice that the other retailers in your area are claiming that they are selling a lot more clothing and accessories than usual, yet you can’t seem to understand why you are not. Sure it could do with the fact that no-one likes your store because your employees act like they are better then everyone else, if that is the case you should already know that by now. It may have to do with your lack of marketing or ability to make sure that you have a new selection of vintage clothing for your customers each week.

retail-storeThis is the second installation in a series that we are doing on retail management. We recommend that you read our first article, Introduction to Retail in General – Part. 1 if you have not already.
In this article  Retail Management – Retail as a Career – Part. 2 we will go over the different titles, tasks and duties for those running or managing a retail location. Retail is a people-centric industry, and is one industry which simultaneously can expose you to many skills and disciplines. It offers many choices in terms of a career, chief among them are buying and merchandising, marketing, store operations, finance, human resources, technology and e-commerce, visual merchandising and finally supply chain management and logistics.

Managing EmployeesAs your store begins to grow it is important to hire employees that will help your business  become a success. Often times that is much easier said than done.  Managing people is no easy task, the more employees that you take on, the more of chance that you they will have conflict with each other, or with you. As a manager it is important to recognize if there is conflict amongst your team and take steps to resolve it as soon as possible.

The following article by Rose Jacobs was recently printed in Forbes Magazine on how to solve a problem with a difficult employee. Jacobs discusses 6 steps to take when you realize that one of your employees is being difficult and it is your job to get involved.  It is important to remember that something has to be done, even if they are just having a ‘bad day’. If you do not step up to the plate and take action they will walk all over you and you will loose the respect of the other employees and your customers as well.

retail-mgmUnless you went to business school to open a vintage store and you remember all of those courses about how to successfully run a retail operation, you may want to freshen up your on the basic concepts behind operating a store. The following article was taken from a ten part lecture about retail with added notes. This resource is great if you are putting together a business plan, or if you are looking for material to become better at what you do.

clothing-swap-exchangeClothing swaps are a great way to attract the attention of all of your towns stylish scavengers plus get them to gather in one place. If you are looking for a way to increase your sales and start a word of mouth marketing campaign at the same time why not plan a used and vintage clothing exchange.


What you do is:

  1. first plan a date that will work
  2. set up place where people can bring in clothes and exchange out clothes.

You can have it either at your shop or you could hold the even somewhere else. There are benefits for having it at your shop, but it also takes a little more work making sure that your merchandise does not get mixed into the exchange. You see the basic premise is this.

b-structureWe talked about this in earlier articles in the Organization structure of the Business Plan Section. Remember that for tax and legal purposes, most countries require an organization to declare a legal form of ownership. In the United States the general choices are sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. Similar options exist in most other countries, with slight variations in meaning and names. In the United Kingdom and most Commonwealth countries, for example, a corporation is known as a limited company (here “limited” means the owners are only responsible for a certain level of company debt, as in a “limited liability company”).