Small Business Strategies

The technology innovation trendwe saw it the past year will continue in the retail industry, with mobilepayment as one of the emerging technology. Shoppers can now compare prices of any item online or inbrick-and-mortar stores with a smart phone. Retail analytics can predict shoppers’ life styles and target them withpromotions to increase margins.  So howdoes a small business compete with large retail boxes that have the ability toafford the cutting edge technology?  Thisis not an easy task but here are three strategies that could help.

 First, a small business should look to diversify its revenuestream.  A small business could notcompete on price along with the larger retail box.  One advantage the small business has overchain stores is that it knows its customers on a personal level.  Offer customers the experiences that theynormally wouldn’t get from a chain store. For example, local grocery stores could offer healthy eating and cookingevents.

We all know that small business is the backbone of oureconomy.  Local businesses can takeadvantage of their connection to the local community and enlist support from withinthe community.  One example is to partnerwith local schools and charities to offer support to these organizations.  By doing so, local businesses increase theirrole in the well-being of the community and therefore could increase thesupport and loyalty of the community.

Another strategy is to garner support from its vendors.  Vendors who sell to large retail boxes areusually forced in negotiation to provide products at a deep discount.  Small businesses could take advantage of thisfact to create mutually beneficial relationships with their vendors andsuppliers.

Finally, small businesses need to look at the technology andhow they could adapt and utilize what they can afford to compete with largeretail chain.  Small businesses could dothat by choosing scalable POS and back-office systems that provides them withthe same functions and capabilities as the large retailers.

Investing In Training is Profitable

The most successfulcompanies have long recognized the value of a well trained staff.  Some of the many reasons savvy businessowners realize how investing in training will impact the bottom line are:  increased job satisfaction and morale amongemployees; increased employee motivation; increased efficiencies in processes,resulting in financial gain; increased capacity to adopt new technologies andmethods; increased innovation in strategies and products; reduced employee turnover;enhanced company image.  These are justsome of the compelling arguments to make ongoing training an organizationalgoal.

Staff training can be on the job where more experiencedemployees are assigned to train new employees. Cross-training existing employees various tasks handled by otheremployees is also important.  Thisensures operations are not disrupted when employees leave the company eithertemporarily or permanently.  Sometimes acompany does not have the knowledge internally to train staff for variousreasons: key person left the company, company acquired new technology or simplywants to learn how to leverage more features/functions from their currenttechnology.  Regardless of the reason, aprudent owner will recognize the investment value of developing their humanresource to actualize increased efficiencies that will ultimately impact thebottom line.

These same principles hold true for independent grocers inthis competitive market.  As a solutionsprovider for independent grocers we understand these needs and have developedtraining programs to assist our customers in this ongoing effort.  If you want to make the investment to improveyour operation, contact STCR at (607) 757-0181.