If you feel you are one of many Retail outlet owners not making a lot of money in your retail operation, and you do not enjoy enough demand for your store to be highly profitable, whether you are the owner of a single-unit, a franchisee or a C-level executive of a chain, you don’t want to close and you feel you are just surviving, you want to give it one more shot and find out if it’s worth it. So you need to acknowledge you have been lax, and get your butt in gear to expect more from yourself and your store. You have to develop the iron will to break out of your cocoon if you want a profitable business. Here are some ideas that may help:

1. Look at your payroll and let go. Are you providing a better way of life for your crew then you are for yourself? Martyrs don’t get anything but ulcers. I had one woman call last Autumn to say how she wasn’t making money after several years in business. She told me she paid her manager, a friend who needed a job, over €50,000 a year. We told her, “You can’t do that.” Many struggling businesses cannot afford to pay a manager and benefits. She needed to do that job herself and demote or fire her friend.



2. Look at your inventory and let go. Are you carrying too much on your sales floor that simply isn’t going to sell? If so, hold a huge clearance sale, so you can focus on what does sell profitably.

3. Look at your hours and expand them. Are you maintaining 90% of the hours of your competitors? So many smaller operators complain they don’t make money, but they admit to being open only Monday through Saturday from 10-5. You need to be open when customers who work will be able to shop. If you must close, close on a Monday.

4. Look at your marketing. If the only way customers shop with you is when you have a 30% off storewide sale, you have not created a profitable customer base; you have created a culture of bargain hunters. You need to find ways to get people to pay full price day in and day out. An occasional sale or a single line discount for a week is frosting; without the full price cake, you have no dessert.

5. Look at your selling abilities. Stack it high and let it fly is over. It only worked for chains several generations ago. Each piece of merchandise you’ve curated needs to be shown and sold. If you have too much crowded around it, clear it out. If you feel selling is pushy, realise you need to change your perception. You don’t eat if you don’t sell. Aren’t you tired of providing income for your landlord, banker, sales reps and others? Of course you are. Do something to move the merchandise; it won’t move out by itself.

In the end, anything you are doing for your business has to give you hope that it is serving you well first.

Businesses close because they stopped trying new things, lost their focus on the customer and lost hope that anything would be different.

Use these tips to refocus your energies and expect more from yourself to increase your retail sales.