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Retail business kit for dummies pdf

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Whether you're a novice or a seasoned retail entrepreneur, Retail Business Kit For Dummies shows you how to start and run your business in today's retail. Find a Document you need from a Huge Online Library of Forms. Fill Online or Download retail business kit for dummies free pdf download in Word & PDF easily. Download Pdf, Free Pdf Retail Business Kit For Dummies Download. Entrepreneur's Tool Kit - Mississippi Development Authority small business”.also refer to.


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Retail Business Kit FORDUMmIES‰2NDby Rick SegelEDITION Retail Business Kit FORDUMmIES‰2NDby Rick Se. Read Retail Business Kit For Dummies PDF Ebook by Rick mmoonneeyy.infohed by For Dummies, ePUB/PDF , mmoonneeyy.info .PDF). Download Retail Business Kit For Dummies Pdf Ebook. Be the first to ask a question about Retail Business Kit For Dummies. Retail Business Kit For Dummies.

In the s, we carried a line of dresses for the mature woman. The company would have been out of alignment if it had continued with this line. But after five years, he sold it because he was spending three hours a day in the car. Can you show me a good time? If the idea is good enough, they will eventually jump on your bandwagon.

Make your new venture succeed beyond your wildest dreams with a little help from Retail Business Kit For Dummies! Rick Segel, CSP is an international retail expert and author of 8 books on retailing. His weekly column is read by more than 10, retailers worldwide.

Permissions Request permission to reuse content from this site. Undetected country. NO YES. Description About the Author Permissions Table of contents. Selected type: Added to Your Shopping Cart. Discover how to: Launch a successful independent retail business Create a Web site that shines Connect with customers and increase sales Handle legal and accounting issues Design stores that really work Practice the 10 keys to retail selling Use management practices proven in the trenches Make visual merchandising work for you Make your new venture succeed beyond your wildest dreams with a little help from Retail Business Kit For Dummies!

Table of contents Introduction. Part I: Testing the Retail Waters. Chapter 1: Chapter 2: Defining Your Vision: It Starts with a Dream. Chapter 3: Making Your Business Memorable. Chapter 4: Part II: Chapter 5: Location, Location, Location: Finding the Right Place to Do Business.

Chapter 6: Designing Stores That Work. Chapter 7: Choosing Your Merchandise: What to Buy and Where to Find It. Chapter 8: Get ting the Goods: Controlling Your Buying.

Selling Online: The Part of Tens Ten Keys to Retailing Success Ten Secrets of Extraordinary Customer Service Ten Proven Management Practices About the CD It Starts with a Dream. The Nifty Fifty Making Your Business Memorable. Finding the Right Place to Do Business. Designing Stores That Work. What to Buy and Where to Find It.

Dummies kit pdf retail business for

The ultimate buying motivator Controlling Your Buying. Creating the Business Plan and Structure. How are you going to sell it? How much do you plan to make, spend, and need? How are you going to run your business? Summing it all up Registrations, Licenses, and Permits Different kinds from different areas The Day-to-Day Stuff. Shoplifting and employee theft Finding, Hiring, and Keeping a Great Staff.

Generating Word-of-Mouth Advertising. How to WOW What to Include in Your Arsenal.

The Underutilized Killer Resource. Setting Up Successful Sales and Promotions. Selling the Soft, Suggestive Way. Ten Keys to Retailing Success. Ten Secrets of Extraordinary Customer Service. Ten Proven Management Practices. The marketplace is more fertile today than at any other time in recorded history because of the integration of easy e-commerce elements into independent retailing.

There is always room for creative, knowledgeable retailers with a different way of looking at the world and customers. In this book, I share with you what works, what it takes to be successful, and some secrets from the pros.

Generations of questioning have made retailing what it is today.

Retail Business Kit For Dummies

About This Book This book is truly a how-to manual for starting and running a retail business. It covers every aspect of the retail business from the original dream to the day-to-day operations of an established store.

The purpose of this book is to share my experiences so that you can benefit from them. Retail is detail is an old expression you find sprinkled throughout this book. What it means is that to be a successful retailer, you must focus on many detailed tasks.

Most successful retailers become great because of their attention to details. I have discovered that the most successful retailers are not those who break onto the retail landscape with the biggest stores, the most expensive store designs, or even the largest ad campaigns. No, the true winners are those who address the little things in concert with a vision and mission for their business. Also, Web addresses are printed in monofont to help them stand out.

When this book was printed, some Web addresses may have needed to break across two lines of text. Foolish Assumptions I try not to make many assumptions about who you are. In addition, the CD-ROM serves as a reference that puts samples of relevant retail forms at your fingertips.

The CD was designed to be used in conjunction with the book, and you find references to CD elements throughout the book, but it can also be used on its own. Part I: Testing the Retail Waters This part helps you determine if retailing is right for you and if you are right for retailing.

It presents the pros and cons of retail and offers strategies to help you turn your dreams of running your own store into a reality. Introduction Part II: The chapters in this part provide real how-to information to help you complete these tasks successfully. Part III: Detailing the Retailing Every business needs a plan, and the first chapter in this part guides you through the procedure of creating a workable business plan that will serve as your blueprint to success.

The next chapters in this part focus on the day-to-day stuff — how to actually run your store. I show you how to establish specific store procedures so that your business will run smoothly and how to find, hire, and keep a terrific staff. Part IV: I also explore ways to advertise and the power of retail signage.

Part V: Selling Made Simple The chapters in this section are designed to help you master the art of selling, whether face to face or on the Internet. They present selling strategies that will keep your cash register ringing and offer tips for displaying merchandise in a way that compels customers to buy it.

The Part of Tens This final part is made up of lists that highlight some of the basic themes of retailing. From keys to retail success, to the secrets of extraordinary customer service, to proven management practices, the chapters in this part offer tips that will make your business a well-run operation. Icons Used in This Book Throughout the book, you see little graphics in the margins that highlight certain paragraphs.

The paragraphs marked by this icon alert you to materials on the CD that are relevant to the discussion at hand. These short tidbits capture poignant points for you to remember and quote, based on my many years of retail experience.

They are random because there is no order or sequence in the numbering. The key message is in their name: Retail Rules! The paragraphs marked by this icon represent a generally good idea or suggest a way to do something better or more efficiently. This icon indicates an area of concern or offers a tip on how to avoid trouble. This is your glimpse behind the counters of the retail industry with all its challenges and opportunities.

Your dreams and ideas really matter here — these chapters encourage you to develop your vision of what you want your business to become and explore ways to turn those dreams into realities.

The first step is to understand that the most important brand you will ever carry is the name over your front door. I also help you identify who your ideal customers are so that you can set up your business to serve them — and you can determine whether you have enough of them to make your business work. You also find out about the 8-Point Retail Filter that can serve you well for as long as you are in the retail business. The eight most important considerations in everything you do are product, pricing, profitability, presentation, procedures, promotions, people, and brand.

As you make various business decisions, you must ask yourself how they will affect each of these eight points. Chapter 1 Retailing: Nevertheless, between 12 and 17 percent of all new businesses fail within the first two years.

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In this chapter, I give you an idea of what the retail business is all about so that you can decide whether retail is right for you. You bet it is! Society is more accepting of change and innovation today than ever before — there are no limits to creativity where retailing is concerned. This is the greatest and most lucrative time for independent retailers to succeed than any other period in our history.

That is due to the power and potential of e-commerce. The 8 Part I: In fact, this generation is used to change — it accepts it, expects it, and wants it. Retailing is a way of life with boundless opportunities: We can truly create customers for life wherever they might move, so we can become less dependent on people walking through the front door. After all, even the now-mighty Wal-Mart originated in Bentonville, Arkansas. But in the retailing world, ordinary men and women can become extraordinary.

The new kids can either push the established and already successful stores to become better, or they can put those old stores out of business. The time is ripe for new success stories! Setting Up a Retail Business The essence of retailing is buying something and reselling it for a profit. What you sell, where you sell it, how you price and display it, and who you sell it to are all factors that help make retailing an extremely interesting challenge.

And as bright new entrepreneurs enter the retail arena, each one brings a new detail to retail — a new wrinkle in the way to do business. Retailing is about creativity, and if you like change, you will love the retail business.

In fact, creativity is the giant-slayer of businesses that are too set in their ways to change. Chapter 1: Plan your business. First, develop a business plan that forces you to document every aspect of your business.

I show you how to do this in Chapter 9. You must also decide where to locate your business for optimal success see Chapter 5 and how to design your store to make it attractive to customers see Chapter 6. And before you get too far in your planning, make sure that you determine the structure of your business see Chapter 9 and obtain the necessary permits and registrations see Chapter Validate your ideas.

Ask everyone you know what he or she thinks about your idea for a new retail business. No matter. Now is the time to talk to as many professionals as possible. Contact your local state retail association and the trade show or association that services your industry.

Many of these groups can refer you to people who will give you an honest opinion. Obviously, now is also the time to share your business plans with your friendly banker. Execute your plan. Being successful requires more than just having a great idea. Lots of people have great ideas, but not many of them know how to market and execute their plans. Orchestrate your grand opening. Your next goal is to open the store.

You must set two dates: For the soft opening, simply open the doors to your business, and whoever comes in, comes in. Taking this step gives you a chance to work out the bugs before your grand opening event that includes the 9 10 Part I: Testing the Retail Waters ribbon-cutting, the opening party, and the grand opening sale.

Your grand opening may be short term in duration, but its effect can last forever. For information on managing grand openings, promotions, and sales, see Part V. Create your routine. During your first year, you will establish the way your business does things — your policies and procedures. Are they working in practice?

Keep a pad of paper by your cash register, and every time you think about a better way to do something, document it. For tips on how to run your business from day to day, see Part III. Grow your business. You must now concentrate on advertising see Chapters 14 and 15 , building your brand see Chapter 3 , buying the right merchandise see Chapters 7 and 8 , and attracting the right personnel see Chapter To maintain your success, you must master the art of selling see Part V.

And in order for your business to stay afloat, you must keep on top of its finances see Chapter Or should I say, are excitement, change, and constant improvement right for you? The following questions can help you think more deeply about whether or not retail is for you: Retailing is selling! Your advertising, your displays, and the contact you have with your customers are all part of the selling process. If the idea of selling scares you, beware. Retailing is selling — no matter how you disguise it.

Part of retailing is shopping. If you find shopping to be a pain, you better find yourself a good buyer — or you better not go into the retail business. You have to know what your competition is doing. Retailing is a people business. As a retailer, you must deal with emotions both high and low. Many times, you must deal with irrational people, rationally. If you welcome this challenge, you may be right for retail. Retailing is establishing contacts.

My contacts are also there for me when I get a little down in the dumps. Retailing is motivating your staff. If so, not only can you be a successful retailer, but you may also have the ability to own multiple stores — perhaps even an entire chain! The ability to motivate others is a skill that winners have.

You must be in the store when your customers are there — you have to be present when and where the action is. You get used to it. Retailing is planning. You must plan your buying trips and what you will buy on these trips.

You must plan your budget. Plan your staff. Plan when to change your displays.

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Plan your time on the selling floor. Get the picture? Planning is just part of the business. Retailing is constant learning. There is nothing worse than a stale retailer. Retailing is displaying your merchandise in the most attractive way possible. Testing the Retail Waters If most of these questions excited you, you will make a great retailer. If you think that having some old fixtures from a store that closed and knowing a company that can supply you with some merchandise are good enough reasons to go into the retail business, think again.

Reviewing some reasons for opening a store Often, people open stores for the wrong reasons. What are your reasons? Are they valid? And just what is a valid reason, anyway? The following list gives some common reasons for opening a store: A store can provide an outlet for artistic expression.

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Those who love what they do and who work hard but never think of it as hard work almost always succeed. Opening a store can give you the opportunity to interact with customers and meet plenty of new people. People who open stores for this reason thrill to the challenge of developing new customers. Having a store can provide you with the excitement of buying the merchandise for it. Wielding the buying power and having access to the latest merchandise is a thrill.

If you are a manufacturer or a designer, opening a store can enable you to sell your merchandise directly to the public. In this way, you can create a visibility for your product that may not have been possible through the traditional channels.

Or if, like Chapter 1: Many Jewish immigrants who opened their own small retail shops went on to become the giants of the retail industry. For those who have worked in retail their entire lives, opening a store can fulfill their dreams of owning their own business. These people already know the ins and outs of retailing and only need to master the backroom functions. In my opinion, this is one of the best reasons to open a store.

Running a store can and should make you money — in many cases lots of it — while keeping you close to home. Many people who started with very little have gone on to make millions in the retail business.

That statement is even truer today because of the effects of the Internet on retailing. Successful retailing is just creativity and practicality stuffed into one shopping bag. The reasons to open a store are many, but the key is to know and recognize your own reasons. Be aware, however, that your reasons for owning a store will probably change as you are exposed to more aspects of the retail business.

And they will probably change as your life situation evolves. For example, my mother originally opened a store because she needed to support a family but had a problem finding a job. Understanding how retailing will affect your lifestyle When you think of retail, do you think about all the hours that stores are open?

First, the good news: The fastest way to an unhappy life and career is to work seven days a week. It hurts the business. I recommend that retailers work five days a week and take the other two off. The businesses whose managers 13 14 Part I: Testing the Retail Waters do this are much healthier, and their staffs are happier and more creative. Getting out of the store helps your business by getting your mind moving and inspiring new ideas. When the whole world is shopping, you are working.

And when the whole world is working, you can go shopping! The same could be said for Sunday but with fewer hours. The bottom line is simple: Will you have to work long hours? Can you be in the retail business and lead a normal life? So how many hours a week should you work? Retailing is a marathon, not a sprint. You must pace yourself. So why retail? Why not? Retailing is fun, exciting, and ever changing. The group may include neighboring stores, your state association of retailers, or the state and national associations of retailers in your industry such as the Jewelry Retailers, Convenience Store Retailers, Appliance Retailers, and so on.

These groups all offer trade shows, educational seminars, and member benefit programs. Best of all, being in these groups allows you to network with others who do exactly what you do. The income potential, the lifestyle advantages, the thrill of the buying process, the challenges, the contact with people, and the sheer pride of owning your own store are what make retail a wonderful career option. New things are always difficult in the beginning. Change is difficult, but change is good.

So get excited, and enjoy your journey. Have fun! This filter is a list of the eight basic elements of running a retail business. Unless every area is running efficiently, your business will have problems. On the other hand, if you address these eight points consistently and thoroughly, your business will succeed.

The 8-Point Retail Filter helps you understand the retail business, focus on the details of retail, and set goals to bring your business to the next level. Be sure to sift every retail decision through this filter. In the list that follows, I briefly define each point in the filter and then pose questions for you to ask yourself whenever you make a decision that pertains to your business. In other chapters, I provide additional questions based on the 8-Point Retail Filter that are more specific to the discussion at hand.

As you probably guessed, this is the stuff that your store sells. What kind of product will your store carry? This is what your store looks like, inside and out. How will you display your product? This is how your store is run. Over the years, innovative procedures have produced revolutionary concepts such as drive-thrus, supermarkets, superstores, and e-tail sites that have changed the face of retail. How will you do the everyday things you do? How will technology and the Internet affect the way you get things done?

What goals will you work toward in this area? This is how much you sell your product for. How often will you have sales? This is how your store advertises and markets itself to the public. How are you going to tell the world you exist?

Will you have nonsale promotions, as well as price promotions? This is how much money you make from selling your product. When do you plan on turning a profit, and will you be drawing a salary? What system will you use to remain informed of your profitability?

This is the staff you hire to do everything from sweeping the floors to ringing up the cash register to filing your taxes. Your success depends on the team you put together. Who will you hire, and what will their roles be? Who will train your staff? This is how your store distinguishes itself from others like it.

Brand often plays a major role in why a customer chooses one store over another. What will customers associate your store with? How will you promote your brand? He had high hopes A couple years ago, Bud, the owner of an expensive home furnishings store, called me for help. Frankly, I was impressed. But now, because he had spent all his money outfitting his store, Bud was desperate.

He set goals that were just too high. Therefore, any plan to meet these goals would never have worked. Goals are powerful tools that must be evaluated with a big splash of reality. Many times, goals need to be examined by a fresh set of eyes — just be careful where you get your advice.

Chapter 2 Defining Your Vision: What is your dream? Who are you, and what do you stand for? Your dream will serve as the foundation of your business.

Thus, if you want to succeed in starting a retail business, you must first define your vision. Getting Focused on Your Dream Too many businesses fail because they lack focus. Defining your vision can give you the focus you need and is critical to the success of your business because it helps you do the following: And after you understand what kind of business you are, never stray from it! If you are fuzzy about the details, everyone else will be, too.

Stand for something or fall for anything. As you start to solidify your dreams, take into account your employees or future employees.

Regard your employees as customers, doing all that you can to keep them happy and invested in your business. In this day and age, attracting customers is much easier than attracting effective employees!

What came between me and my Calvins? In the s, we carried a line of dresses for the mature woman. That line of dresses was one of the most profitable lines in our store. After all, mothers were our specialty. On one particular buying trip to my usual supplier of clothing for mature women, I noticed an entire wall that was stacked to the ceiling with jeans. I asked the salesperson about it, and he explained that his boss had made a deal with a new designer.

Surprisingly, he remarked, the jeans were selling well — despite the fact that the designer had put his name on the outside of the pants.

All I have to do is ship them. This was amazing to me — I guess I got a little carried away with the hype. I went to New York and ordered, not one dozen, but seven dozen pairs of jeans. A month later, the jeans arrived at my store.

One of my employees, concerned that we had so many pairs, suggested putting a couple of them in the front window. Within ten minutes of putting the jeans on display, high school kids started to come into the store, asking about the jeans.

At one point, every dressing room contained a kid that was trying on these jeans. During the next hour and a half, we sold 19 pairs. Nevertheless, at closing time, I called the owner of the jeans store across the street and sold him the rest of the jeans at my cost.

I was able to make that decision because I knew who I was, and I had a crystal clear understanding of the mission of my business. And to have tried to cater to two distinctly different customers would have sent mixed messages to the public about what my store was all about. The quick buck today can cause irreparable damage later.

You will be constantly tempted with fads that are here today, gone tomorrow. Chapter 2: It Starts with a Dream Brainstorming to Gather Your Ideas Brainstorming is an effective strategy to help you take notions and vague ideas and put them into more concrete terms.

Take time to do this, not only by yourself but also with others — you need to have very definite ideas about your vision. Enlist the help of your friends, associates, and other business people you respect. Brainstorming sessions with these people can help you gather your ideas and add new ones that you may not have thought about before. Brainstorming to define your vision involves three steps: Remember that the winners in the retail business are those who overcome negative self-talk and plunge ahead with their dreams — in spite of any defeats or setbacks.

Getting feedback The second stage of brainstorming involves bouncing ideas off friends or colleagues. Ask what they think of your ideas. Ask whether they think your ideas will work. Many times, you can determine whether people think your idea is good by monitoring their reactions when you tell them about it. Generally, the wider their eyes get, the more they like your idea. If you get this kind of response, consider it a favorable indicator that you should go ahead and pursue your dreams.

If the idea is good enough, they will eventually jump on your bandwagon.

Letting it flow In the free flow stage, you focus on coming up with — or expanding on — an idea, a solution, or a game plan. For this brainstorming session, gather a small group of people who are interested in helping your business succeed. During this session, you can use the questions that I present in the following section to help focus the thoughts of those in the group. Thoughts or suggestions that seem to be out in left field can often spawn great ideas. Squeezing Your Dreams into a Signature Line Crafting a signature line, a key phrase that defines your business, is a critical element to the success of your business.

Capturing an often abstract dream in one short phrase can seem an impossible task. The Nifty Fifty 1. In an ideal world where money was no object , what would your store look like? Because money is always an issue, what does your store actually look like?

How can you improve your store design? What kind of merchandise do you carry? Where do you buy your merchandise? Do you like to carry expensive merchandise? Do you let the merchandise you carry determine the type of customer you want to attract?

Are you customer focused? Describe your ideal customers: If you have more than one type, describe each one. Why do you consider them to be your best customers? How do you communicate with your customers?

If a customer put something in layaway and the item was subsequently marked down, how would you handle the situation? How would you handle employee theft? Do you believe that you should treat all customers the same? Do you believe that you should treat all employees the same? What does quality mean to you? What criteria would you use to classify a store as average, weak, or a leader? What makes that store weak? How do you plan on making your store different from that weak store?

What makes that store a leader? How do you plan on making your store the same as that strong store? What good ideas does that store use that you could implement at your store? What type of store do you normally shop at? What type of store would you love to shop at? What makes your store different? Why should someone buy from you rather than from your competition? Why should customers go into your store instead of buying merchandise online? What is the ultimate benefit that your customer receives by shopping at your store?

It Starts with a Dream Do you want to make a difference in your community? In your industry? If so, how? How important are social issues to your business? Do you believe in getting involved with charities or with community organizations? If so, why? What do you want customers to say about your store? What do you want non-customers to say about your store?

What do you want your friends or family to say about the store? What do you want your fellow merchants to say about the store? What do you want customers to say about you? What do you want your fellow merchants to say about you? What do you want the community to say about you?

What do you want customers to say about your employees? What is the one thing that customers will talk about after being in your store? Fill in the following blanks: What makes people talk about your store? More blanks to fill in: How important is it to show a profit in your first year?

Where would you like your business to be in three years? In five years? In ten years? Where would you like to be in the same time frames — professionally and financially? During your first year in business, you may want to review your responses quarterly.

Print it out and use it for future analysis. Evaluating your responses If you answered the questions in the preceding section honestly, you probably know a lot more about yourself and your business than you did before. Will the merchandise you carry be the most important aspect of your business?

Will the way that your merchandise is presented and the overall look of your store be your most distinguishing factor?

Will the way that you provide service to your customers be the element that sets your store apart from your competitors? Will the price of your merchandise determine your focus? Will your advertisements be what your customers talk about? Will profitability determine your business decisions? Financial considerations can prevent you from doing things that could change your focus. I always wanted a big clock in front of my store that everyone would talk about. See what I mean? Will the type of people that you hire and the training that you make available to them become your focus?

All these considerations make up your brand and help you and your customers identify your business and understand its position in the marketplace. Does every business have a signature line? No, but every one should.

Retail Business Kit For Dummies, 2nd Edition

A signature line is more than just an advertising slogan: It communicates who you are and what you do — and what your customers can expect from you. Undoubtedly, they have served as inspiration for countless businesses around the world.

Let them help get you thinking about a phrase that could define your business. With your responses to the Nifty Fifty in hand, do the following: When you care enough to send the very best. Hallmark just sells paper and ink, but this signature line conveys a sense of excellence that positions the company as the best in its industry.

When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight. Unquestionably, Federal Express stands for speed and efficiency. Quality is Job One. Ford was forced to abandon this signature line due to the problem it had with its tires. The company would have been out of alignment if it had continued with this line. Too bad, it was a great one. Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.

I think that says it all. Rejuvenate your business with a signature line Several years ago, I was approached by Ed, a frame store owner. Unfortunately, his store, which did wonderful work, had an otherwise nondescript reputation. He wanted me to help him come up with an attention-grabbing signature line.

For starters, I had him go through the same Nifty Fifty questions that I present in this chapter. When Ed finished answering the questions, we looked at his responses.

Several words and phrases stood out: From the naked tomato to the stuffed potato. The phrase had attitude and shock value, and it worked.

With this information, Ed and I developed a signature line for his store: Where the artists go for framing. The phrase provided Ed with Chapter 3 Branding: A brand is a name or a symbol of identification.

Gotta have it? Remember that a brand becomes whatever consumers associate with it. So be careful what people think about you — your reputation is also a component of your brand! Getting to Know Branding In the last few years, the concept of brand or branding has dominated the pages of almost every business publication — it has become part of everyday business vocabulary everywhere. But, in actuality, branding is as old as business itself. There is no room for error.

When you advertise your business, your brand has to be consistent. Testing the Retail Waters So what does a brand do? First of all, it breeds familiarity — and familiarity represents trust. Is this reputation always deserved? Not necessarily. But consumers tend to think that if a business has a recognizable brand, its product must be okay. And products with strong brand names can often even demand higher prices. He branded dead chickens!

Perdue chickens are more expensive than other kinds of chicken — but they sell. People are willing to pay extra for an Intel chip because of what the brand represents.

Fields branded her chocolate chip cookies. People who buy the Mrs. Plenty of people make chocolate chip cookies better than or at least as well as Mrs.

Fields does — but she branded hers, so they fetch a higher price than unbranded cookies. It costs more than regular tap water, but it sells. These are powerful associations, but neither of them have anything to do with thirst.

My message is this: Chapter 3: Whoever owns the brand holds the purse strings. Making your business your brand A big mistake many new retailers make is to focus on the brands they carry, and not on their own name. Because different manufacturers and lines fall in and out of favor, build your business with an eye on establishing your store name as a recognizable brand.

If you do this, your store will stay strong regardless of fluctuating trends. Repeat this phrase times, write it on the blackboard another times — and before you go to sleep every night, say it again.

Your goal should be to carry merchandise that is unique to your store. The flame broiling is what distinguishes BK from its competitors — what builds its brand. Many designer lines are made up of purchased items. The high profile retailers in the list above purchase merchandise from manufacturers and sales reps just like you do; they just go on to make those items a part of their own collections.

The richest people in America were retailers. This direct advertising initiative raised consumer awareness of their products. The shift was on: The purse strings, or profits, were moving from retailer to manufacturer. Over the last 20 years, however, the purse strings have started to shift back to the retailer. Because retailers have figured out that if they promote and feature their own store brands, they can earn extra profits.

The most important brand you can carry is the name on your front door. The bottom line: If you do this, your business will be a success. Even at that point, however, the stronger your store name, the better the sale. For more on running sales, flip to Chapter Understanding brand associations Branding is a game of associations. As a retailer, you need to control the associations the public makes with your business as much as possible.

The following is a list of the most common brand associations and the reactions they elicit from customers: You have to make sure that your brand is unique and recognizable. To help you clearly define your brand, ask yourself the following questions that are based on the 8-Point Retail Filter see Chapter 1 if you need a refresher: The price range of the merchandise in your store affects your image and ultimately your brand. The products you choose to carry define your brand.

Your employees are central to your brand this is especially true in a smaller store. For sales reps to enjoy doing business with me? Your public image on paper newspaper ads, promotional flyers, catalogs, store display signs — even sales receipts is the tool with which you build your brand. If not, what can I do to strengthen it? Taking Steps to Build Brand Power The strategies I present in this section can help you establish your business as a brand that reflects the merchandise you sell, the service you provide, the uniqueness you offer, and the kind of customer you want to attract.

Finding a niche and becoming an expert In this age of specialization, consumers are more than willing to pay extra money to deal with a specialized professional — someone who really knows his or her business, a real expert. In fact, the more you specialize, the better you get at what you do and the more customers will travel farther or pay extra to do business with you.

Establish your business as the expert in a particular retail niche, and customers will come. Do your homework Thanks to the Internet, becoming a recognized expert is not as difficult as it used to be.

You have access to unlimited amounts of information with just a few clicks of your computer mouse. Be sure that you do your homework and study your category thoroughly. Try to attend every seminar that your industry offers. Know more than your peers. If you spend just 20 minutes a day reading about your industry, you can be an expert in less than 18 months.

How can you be an authority in such a short time? Obtain credentials If your association, such as the Jewelry Association or the Photo-Marketing Association, offers any type of certification program, get certified. It adds to your credibility — and that can only help your business. Although your customers may not know what your certification means, the fact that you are certified can inspire trust. Contact the different media outlets, and let them know that they can call on you to comment on various issues that affect your industry.

Send out a press release every time you go to a trade show to share with the public all the insights you gained from your trade show experience.

Soon people will be coming to you for your expertise. Share your knowledge You can strengthen your brand and underscore your expert status by conducting seminars in your store. The public wants to know about whatever you sell. Actually, small groups of four to six people are perfect. Be sure that you offer your customers things they want to know. At my store, we gave seminars on how to be the perfect mother-in-law.

These seminars attracted the type of customer I wanted and helped establish me as an expert on mothers. It was a win-win situation. If you own a gift shop, offer a class in your store on how to select the perfect gift. If you have a hardware store, give classes on how to fix stuff. And if you own a jewelry store, think about this: To avoid a security disaster, keep the gems locked up and conduct the class with the help of some good pictures or a PowerPoint presentation instead.

Share your knowledge — doing so builds your brand power. The first business to discover a niche usually becomes very wealthy. Understanding who your customer is When considering what kind of customers you want to attract to your business — your ideal customers — think about their income level, their education level, their lifestyle, and the media they are exposed to especially the magazines they read.

All this information helps you determine how best to build your brand to appeal to your ideal customer. This makes them good indicators of what the people who buy them are really like. Testing the Retail Waters Creating a logo A truly great logo is one that is both a powerful image and a specific representation of your business — not just a pretty picture. It can be simply your name presented in a distinctive font, a symbol that represents your business, or a combination of these.