Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sales Planning; a profit enhancing MUST for your small business

Being a retailer means a life full of planning--- planning for the products you are going to carry, planning the marketing programs you are going to run— planning the store hours and staffing, but do you plan for the biggest thing of all???

What type of sales planning do you do for your store? Do you have a sales plan that everyone in the store knows about and is geared up to achieve?

If you do not plan, the question begs, WHY DO YOU NOT PLAN for your store?

In today’s market, there are sophisticated sales planning tools catering to retailers of every size, shape and product category. While these high tech systems can be expensive, the paybacks that retailers see more than cover the cost of the software. The slightest shift to change a sales plan based on actual results can lead to millions of dollars in inventory savings and staffing savings.

Many large retailers today know that a lack of planning can cost much more than just lost profits—it can lead to a lack of competitive advantage and a loss of market share.

Today’s independent retailers are slower to understand this same phenomenon. The results are proven by turnover statistics and increased profits alike---small independent retailers can achieve the same type of rewards- with just as big a percentage of savings to the bottom line by starting with a much smaller and simpler planning process.

The key is to get started and to put down in some way- a plan by day, by month, and total it to a year plan for the store—

So why plan? Whether you are a big store with a planning system, or a small store with a piece of column filled paper, by planning the sales you wish to achieve, you will do the following:

1. Allow for you, as a business owner, to sit back and review the strategic plans and goals for your store. This will have both short term and long term positive effects.
2. Set up a system built to achieve your monthly expenses and cash flow requirements.
3. Create an ongoing business tool that can be used to help effectively plan inventory levels for the store on monthly basis.
4. Set up an ongoing communication tool for your sales associates to understand the store sales goals and create a sense of team responsibility to achieve the results
5. Set up an objective process for employees to be reviewed and evaluated

The list above is by no means complete, but it gives you an idea of some of the benefits you can expect to see with regular sales planning--- Whatever you do, and whatever system you use to start the process- START NOW-- it can and will have profit saving improvements for your business.

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