It happened again. I must be a glutton for punishment, but I just can’t help myself. I try and try to give my money to new small businesses that open in my area but some just don’t get it. I drove by one the other day and it was shuttered and though I wasn’t surprised, I was saddened to see it.

As a former retail business owner myself, I understand the challenges. I was co-owner of a retail store while working full-time in corporate marketing – it’s hard, it’s exhausting and after pouring a lot of money, time and effort into it, survival becomes a must because you can’t afford not to. The marketing edge is not a luxury – it’s an imperative.

Follow these easy-to-implement steps to get your retail business on the right track:

1. Keep consistent hours – Not too long ago I drove to a new business in the area. I parked, walked half a block to the storefront and it was closed. I read the Store Hours sign on the door – they should have already been open for a bit, yet they weren’t. No sign in the window nor any update

[‘Closed for family emergency,’ for example.] Needless to say they lost money and credibility too.

2. Have great signage – This is NOT the place you want to go cheap. Retail businesses make it or not based on the public’s ability to see your storefront from a good distance away. In areas where parking is an issue (see #1 above), be sure the lights are on or there is some clear indicator that you’re open – or not.

3. Hire awesome people – It’s very difficult to manage a retail business solo. There are errands to run, appointments to keep and a whole host of other necessary evils that will take you away from the store now and again. So be sure you hire a great ambassador whom you take all the necessary quality time to train with customer service in mind as well as product/service knowledge. This person is the ‘face’ of your business when you’re not there and it’s critical to your success (and online reviews) that customers are treated very, very well in your stead.

4. Apply a marketing mindset – make sure your business ranks for local search, collect contact information to stay tethered to your shoppers, create and use a marketing calendar and put a plan in place to ensure your success.

With just a few well-considered marketing efforts, your new retail business will thrive.

Good luck and happy marketing,

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