by Thomas J. Kirby
Business Consultant/Writer * 602.968.8363
1232 East Broadway, Suite 210
Tempe, Arizona 85282
In today's competitive retail environment, the number 1 problem facing small businesses is producing a steady cash flow and maintaining bottom-line profits. Caught by the rising growth of competition and stagnant revenues, many are clamped between an inventory surplus and cash flow squeeze without knowing what to do about their business.
- Cutting Edge Solutions for Creating a Successful Sale Event
- The Sales-Building Checklist
- 40 Ways To Improve Retail Profit Margins
- Win The Battle To Sell, Market, Advertise & Promote!
Bob Nelson knows this dilemma — because he has been there — as a former retailer. In the course of running his business, he discovered powerful marketing methods that improved his sales volume dramatically. They worked so well that he decided there may be value in sharing his experiences with other retailers. In the process, he became very good at organizing major traffic-building events for store owners who wanted to generate quick cash during slow business periods.
Inevitably, some of these appreciative retailers advised Nelson to start charging for his services. So Nelson became a "retail survival consultant" to help small and medium-sized retailers attract new business, persuade past customers to return, dramatically increase sales, and compete among the retail giants.
Today, the consultant is a specialty store doctor to many retailers with inventory and cash flow problems. He shows them how to organize and stage major sales events that generate as much sales volume in the first three to four days that would normally take a month or more.
Business has been brisk for Nelson's POWER Retailing company based in Phoenix, Arizona. His area of specialization is in the clothing business. His clients are the myriad of small to medium-sized retailers who have seen megastores enter their communities and quickly drain disposable income from consumers' pockets.
"Mass merchandisers suck up community dollars like a vacuum cleaner," Nelson said. "When these megastores enter a community, you'll see the local pharmacy, hardware store, and once-established retailers quickly go out of business."
POWER Retailing has surveyed specialty store owners around the country about their businesses and discovered a disturbing trend. The survey showed that many "Main Street" stores have witnessed a 30 percent or more drop in sales over the last year.
"The overwhelming response is that business is tougher and more competitive than it has ever been," said Nelson. "What's more, it is more stressful and less fun. They can no longer survive by just being there, no matter how many years the store has been in the community."
The fact-finding survey also reveals that a large percentage of customers are not buying regular retail priced merchandise until it goes on sale. In addition, there is much concern about the rapid growth of factory outlets, national discounters, power centers, mail order catalogs, and retailing on the Internet.
"Many small retailers have lost their business confidence, and grapple with everything ‹ buying, pricing, advertising, merchandising, and especially their own abilities," Nelson said. "They tell me that nothing seems to work anymore, even their seasonal clearance sales don't generate traffic like they used to."
Over the past 12 years, Nelson has consulted with hundreds of retail clients throughout the country to help them compete against the Wal-Marts of the retail world and increase their sales and cash flow to levels that owners' never thought possible. And, he is proud of the numerous testimonies from the stores who rave about his unique marketing plan.
One of the many clients who followed the plan was Nan's Fashions in Sun City, Ariz. One of their stores was in a poor location with limited customer parking near the store. Nan and Jim Fraser, Nan's owners, enlisted Nelson's help when they decided to close the store.
"I had been reluctant to try a sales consultant, because some of these companies end up taking 90 percent of the money you made and you're left with nothing," said Jim Fraser. "I was skeptical when he said he could help us get 30 days' business in three days. But he was right. He told us exactly what to do and what not to do."
It was hard for the Frasers to believe that customers would flock to a store in a poor location with almost no parking, Nelson explained."When we opened the store for the first day of the sale, people were standing in line waiting to get in," Fraser said. "His methods created an exciting atmosphere for our customers." The sale was so successful that the Frasers used Nelson's company six months later when they relocated another store.
Nelson encourages his clients to "be bold, daring and innovative" in their marketing approach. "But, small retailers often feel at a loss when it comes to marketing, because they realize great sums of money can be spent on efforts that produce little or no results," he said. "When a business is struggling, some are so paralyzed that they do nothing to promote their business."
However, many are motivated to put their trust in Power Retailing because they've witnessed an alarming drop in business over the last couple of years.
Nelson cautions small retailers must change their way of thinking and fine tune their business strategy -- refocusing on location, customer service, items, price, and efficiency and by countering with lots of in-store celebrations, glamour and fun. Without an overhaul, they will continue to face a continual decline in business and succumb to the same problems in the future.
Sensitive to business needs, rather than charge large up-front fees as other consultants do, Nelson operates on a contingency basis in most cases, charging a fee that is based on results-only, which is unusual in the consulting profession.
POWER Retailing's methods have caught the attention of Kenneth E. Stone, Ph.D., Professor of Economics at Iowa State University, and author of "Competing With The Retail Giants." Dr. Stone commented, "Nelson's approach is a great benefit to retailers because he works on a no-risk basis." He stated further, "Nelson has retail experience which adds credibility. He is not just offering theories, he is offering a proven formula."
* Store owners can obtain free information by E-Mailing: email@example.com, or by calling 1-800.399.1980 / 480.460.1980 — FAX 480.460.1981