A 5-point Health Check for Retailers

If you read my last blog, you will know what can be achieved by investing in your business during times of economic uncertainty. But before you head to the bank for a loan – take this health check to discover whether your business could save on areas of spend that might be draining your profitability.

Interestingly, I had an email recently from a supplier saying they were reducing their carriage paid minimum and their carriage charges too – so I know lots of businesses are reviewing their operations and how they can help out their customers.

Listening to Sir Dave Brailesford being interviewed about the continued success of the British cyclists in Rio after great results in London and then at the World Championships – it got me thinking about how his advice could be applied to businesses. He commented that it is not about making a big change on any one thing, but making several changes that could deliver 1 thousandth second each that can make enough of a difference.

Whilst you may not be able to make significant savings, by addressing each of these 5 points, you could free up enough cash to have new fresh products in store, change your window displays more often, or refresh your homepage...

POINT 1: Can you save on business overheads?

  • Are you buying services from your providers – utilities/mobile phone providers etc - that you don’t use? Is there a better package to suit what you want?
  • Are your couriers giving you the best deal?
  • Can you strike a deal with your landlord if they’re keen to keep you as a tenant? Perhaps they’re keen to sell?

POINT 2: Is your cash tied up in large quantities of stock?

  • Do some of your suppliers expect you to buy large quantities of stock which represents several months of stock and ties up your cash over that period?
  • Ask if you can order less with no added carriage charges, the worst they can say is no and if they want to retain your custom it may be an option and this will help your cash flow.

 POINT 3: Are you ‘switching off’ at the right times?

  • Are you open at the right times each day – or would you do more trade if you opened earlier/later?
  • Does it make business sense to be open on Sundays?
  • Is the time clock on your window lights set for the right times?

POINT 4: Are there grants/schemes available to you?

  • Keep an eye on the news locally, nationally and within your industry and there will be grants that you can apply for, free help or advice on something technical that is bothering you.

POINT 5: Are you employing the right team?

  • Do you need to recruit for a new position now? (If you do, it’s a buyer’s market as there are many more qualified people in the pool than normal)
  • Can you hold off on finding maternity cover?
  • Would an apprentice be a suitable option for your current staffing issue?

My advice to you is to start this programme of review immediately and aim to complete it within 1 month. Next time on the blog I’ll be talking you through some recommended next steps.