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Old September 12, 2011, 08:24 PM
MMacGillivray's Avatar
MMacGillivray MMacGillivray is offline
Eternal Optimist
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Helensburgh, Argyll
Posts: 231
Default Re: I don't understand business...

Well, I can't speak for everyone - but in our case, we keep a tight control on overheads - and that means staff costs. Sandy and I do most of the work ourselves these days because the expense of employing someone is too high. We also have to do something special to keep people coming back; in our case, it seems as if we create a special atmosphere and go the extra mile to keep our regular customers happy.

I think that most small stores have to offer a service to complement the range of goods on sale. The stores which add in that little bit extra manage to keep people coming back. The ones which open and just do what's necessary will have a much harder time. Sandy and I were on holiday recently and we called into a coffee shop on our way home. We always look to see the differences between their service and ours. We ordered our coffee and cake and just commented between us that the chairs in the establishment were comfortable; I heard a noise behind us and Sandy went and opened the door to allow a lady in; she was trying to open the door while balancing on two crutches. The coffee shop assistant just sat at a desk and watched. The lady got her cup of tea and drank it. When she got up to leave, we opened the door for her again.

It's such a little thing, but that made the lady's experience of the coffee shop much better. We try to do this all the time; there will be occasions when we don't manage it but, believe me, it makes a huge impact when we do.

The other thing which we have to try and watch is the cost of the inventory. This can be difficult when you're dealing with craftsmen and women, but occasionally getting goods which allow a higher than usual margin puts us in a better position to survive the quiet times.

All I can tell you is that a lot of people start small stores and fail; it's a bit like publishing a website - unless you're very lucky, the number of people visiting your site or your store will only increase if you keep on giving value and make the enterprise attractive and entertaining.

M
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