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Manager's To Do

Strategic Planning Guidance, Steps to Better Clienteling, and More Managers’ To-Do Items for January

Take advantage of this month to set yourself up for a successful year.

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Strategic Planning Guidance, Steps to Better Clienteling, and More Managers’ To-Do Items for January

Jan. 2-8

STRATEGY Bring your staff together for a post-holiday strategy session. Go over what worked, what didn’t, what your competitors did, what 2021 taught you. Then spin the session forward: Where do you want to be by end of 2022? The key is to get specific with your targets: Do you want to expand your bridal clientele? Attract more female self-purchases? Appeal to more millennial shoppers? Once you set such goals, you can determine merchandising and advertising strategy.

CUSTOMER MAINTENANCE Phone, e-mail or send a note to your top 50 or so customers to thank them for their patronage in the last year. Make the comments personal and try to include a gift like a gift card for a free coffee.

MERCHANDISING Take one showcase and stock it with aged inventory marked down by 30 to 50 percent. Pledge to maintain those price cuts for the entire year, but be prepared to shuffle your displays. (At these margins, you’re still making a profit. And it’s still better than sending it back to the manufacturer.)

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Jan. 9-15

STRATEGY Set yourself long-term business goals and then break them down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily action steps. Start planning for at least two big events for the year.

MANAGEMENT Start a list of “bad weather projects” to do when, yes, the weather is bad, like it often is in January. Add to your list through the year, and the slow times won’t also be unproductive times.

STAFF If you’ve had a good year in 2021, think of something you can do to make life more comfortable for staff: Could you redesign the back room? Investigate wider health coverage? Give them a clothing allowance?

Jan. 16-22

PROCEDURES Aim to capture customer information from everyone who does any sort of transaction. You want to get their physical and email addresses, their cellphone number, and permission to text.

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MARKETING Most local media outlets now have reader-generated online calendar listings that allow local groups to plug in information about events. Check the websites of your local newspapers, magazines, and TV and radio stations and bookmark the sites with online calendar forms. The next time you have an event, plug in your details.

FINANCES Get an early start on your taxes. On average, small-business owners spend more than 40 hours — the equivalent of a full workweek — filing their federal taxes every year.

Jan. 23-29

MARKETING What was the last business experiment you ran? Can you do an A/B test … say, BOGO versus 50 percent off? A “Sell it or we scrap it” estate sale? Test and learn!

MARKETING Start asking if new clients were referred. It helps to know how they are finding you.

FINANCES It’s a new year, but the search for cost savings continues. Wharton lecturer and small business expert Robert Chalfin suggests you review your ongoing monthly expenses, especially insurance. “You could have a service contract you don’t need or that can be reduced. You might have insured your computer equipment years ago when a PC cost $4,000,” Chalfin told the Wharton Small Business Resource Center.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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