2020 A Clear Vision for the Year

January 2, 2020

BY Jackie Bueg

Happy New Month! Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

What a great time to take a breath and look at the road map for your store. When was the last time you performed a SWOT (Strength/Weakness/Opportunity/Threat) Analysis? A What? You may call it something different in your business plan, but it boils down to holding up a mirror to your business and a magnifier to your community and the world.

S: What are your strengths? Be honest and take time to brag. You are the leader in baby shower gifts. No other store offers gift wrap and delivery to their bridal registrants. Maybe you should include this in your ad. You offer the largest assortment of sports-themed mom brag items in town. Did you send the coach a sample of one of the new items? Sarah your part-time associate always asks the right questions to make an add-on sale. Can she give tips or train other associates? Make sure you keep these things in mind as you move forward. Don't lose sight of how these things can increase your market share.

W: What are your weaknesses? It's OK.  If you know your weakness, you know where to make changes. Tell the TRUTH now. The front window doesn't POP! Create a calendar to make sure you or your merchandising guru has time to be creative. You have the smallest section of Tea and coffee in town. Maybe you don't need these items and should dedicate those funds to expanding a  growing category. Your weekend help spends more time on their phone than talking with customers. Are they your new social media talent or do they need coaching?

O: Are there opportunities that came about last year that you should take advantage of? Is there a new sports team in town? Maybe create a color-themed end cap of items to wear to the game. Did a favorite store down the street close when the owner retired? Should you be picking up their best selling category? Is there a new business or factory opening close by? Maybe send a welcome gift to introduce your store to the secretaries/ admin. assistants. We know who keeps things moving in there. 

T: Threats are beyond our control, but that doesn't mean we ignore the elephant in the room. It's an election year - should you carry election-themed goods? Serious or Novelty, why not make money off this process. Every campaign stop is like free advertising. There was a weather catastrophe - Do you have I survived items? A percentage of the proceeds could go to a charity involved in the cleanup. It's always good to support surrounding communities. Remember your just a day trip away.

The most important thing to remember is, to be honest with yourself. You don't have to share this with anyone outside the owners. You can open it up to employees' comments to get added perspective. Also, revisit this analysis throughout the year to make sure you are changing and growing. Ours is not a stagnant industry. We wouldn't be in it if we didn't like to see new innovative products year after year.