Home' The Channel Magazine : National Newsagent May 2012 Contents HOWTO
Richard Shorney is a mentor and retail coach in the United Kingdom and his advice goes to
show that the keys to success are much the same the world over. Independent newsagents
and CTN’s in the UK may have more grocery and food items than newsagents in Australia,
but the combination Convenience and News will be relevant in some locations.
I have worked in the retail industry since 1992, and for the last
10 years as a Commercial and Business Development Manager.
The following pieces of advice are to my mind absolutes. They will
help you focus your plans and hopefully keep your business on the
straight and narrow path toward profit.
YOU MUST HAVE A UNIQUE SELLING POINT (USP)
Do not be margin hungry. Try to keep a balanced attitude toward
your pricing policy. Be clever with the margins you want to achieve.
For example: There may be lines that you can sell at a small loss
that will trigger a higher footfall into your shop.
Check your location. See if it is possible to get a demographic
survey. From this you will be able to tailor your range accurately.
If you are going into retail, fresh product is going to need to
figure in your range. Do not be afraid of carrying a range of branded
grocery. You do not want to be too niche!
When you are starting out make sure you have enough working
capital to take you through to your breakeven point. Detail is retail!
Do not be afraid to borrow funds. When you have sourced as
much help, guidance and advice from everyone you can think
of including ‘Uncle Tom Cobbly ‘n all’ and your plan stacks up
financially, you can go for it with confidence.
WHATEVER YOU DO MAKE A PLAN AND STICK TO IT
• A summary—this needs to be an overview of your planned
business. This is crucial. Sometimes investors or lenders will
make judgements based on this section of the plan alone. Be
enthusiastic but succinct and make very clear what your USP is.
• Give a description of the business/commercial
opportunity—Say who you are, what your products and services
are. Explain your proposed sales methods. Explain who your
target market is and show your market research. This is critical.
• Give a description of your marketing strategy—Explain why
you think people will buy from you and how you plan to market
your shop or service.
• Explain your sales strategy—How you have arrived at your
price points and what your margin expectations are. Also
consider additional revenue streams that may arise.
• Give an introduction to your management team and
personnel—You will need to show what your credentials and/
or experience is. Also do this for the people you plan to recruit to
work with you. Enthusiasm on its own is usually not enough.
• Give an overview of operations—Show plans or photographs of
your premises/shop/production facilities. Explain why you believe
this is the right location, what equipment and why. If you are
going to use front and back end point of sale explain the benefits
and how you intend to use the information gathered.
• Complete a five year P&L and a five year cash flow
projection—Be ruthless with your expectations and do not
compile this ‘looking through rose tinted glasses’! Paint the
blackest picture.This HAS to be realistic!
• I would strongly suggest you work to targets—You will need
sales, gross profit and waste targets. Yes, I said waste target.
You MUST have one. It is vital that you keep your availability of
product to an appropriate level!
Make full use of your IT. Monitor your sales, commodity sales, GP
and sales per hour. (There may be useful patterns that emerge).
The biggest weapon in your armoury is... all together now...
SERVICE! Make sure you and your staff are trained in retail skills.
Only recruit staff that automatically will exceed expectation. Then
you need to impart your huge data base of product knowledge to
If you can and the opportunity arises look at partnering with, or
piggy backing on, a local name or brand. It could be a great chance
for a joint venture for both parties.
Finally, try to ‘think outside the box’. Be daring, be bold, be bright,
be enthusiastic, be different. Pop Up shops are the latest growing
trend. Maybe look at that as an opportunity. Is there a great location
that you know about? Starbucks are welding shipping containers
together to use as retail spaces!?
National Newsagent May 2012
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