There are many factors that contribute to a small retail business’ success. The factor that most frequently leads to failure is poor cash flow management. [level-members]
For starters, you have to have a cash flow in the first place. That means identifying and concentrating on the activities that bring in revenue. So, join the local Chamber of Commerce, be active, but if you aren’t seeing results, spend your time in other ways.
(And if you aren’t making an effort to measure the results of your various sales and marketing activities, start doing so yesterday! Very little is more important than knowing what is yielding positive results for your business.)
We know it can be difficult to assign value to some activities – did that order from your fellow Chamber member come in because of the Chamber or because your kids play soccer together? – but you should still attempt to quantify, even if the math is a bit fuzzy.
You should also minimize costs. This does not mean skimping on shop maintenance or basic marketing, or training your staff. It does mean systematizing so that you can spend less time on any task where an established workflow makes it clear exactly what has to happen each and every time that task is performed. This might include accepting distributor deliveries, just about any and all paperwork and administrative work, and most aspects of banking and bookkeeping.
Cutting down on mistakes means cutting down on costs.
Don’t forget to automate your marketing so that you’re welcoming new customers, getting them to sign up for your email newsletter, and encouraging them to join your Facebook or other social media communities.