Welcome to my blog! In this video series, you’ll learn simple, straightforward and tested strategies and tactics to help you run a better business, have more fun and make more money.
Your questions, comments, and shares are always appreciated!
Real Retail TV Episodes:
As an independent retailer, it’s easy to get stuck in the habit of thinking small. I get it, you’re busy and there is no shortage of small tasks that need to be completed every day. But it’s so important to take a step back and carve out time to work ON your business instead of in your business. You never know what great idea from an event, book, podcast, etc. could have a profound impact on the success of your store. I like to think of it as the lifetime value of an idea.
The most successful retailers have a wide range of promotions and events throughout the year to attract customers to their stores. It’s not always necessary to offer discounts; there are many other types of promotions that can be effective without lowering prices. In this episode of Real Retail TV, I will discuss the five different types of promotions that every retailer should be aware of in order to keep their calendars full.
As an independent retailer, being savvy about maintaining, and increasing your margins is a critical part of running your business. In this episode, you’ll discover four strategies to make more money by significantly increasing your margins.
There’s no doubt that finding and hiring great people has become more difficult over the past few years. That’s why it is so important to try new and creative approaches when it comes to recruiting. In this episode of Real Retail TV, I’ll share one of my favorite hiring tactics that has been proven to work time and time again.
If you struggle with getting your team members to do what you want them to do, this episode of Real Retail TV is for you. A non-negotiable standard is defined as a standard to which everybody adheres to in exchange for their paycheck. Once you set a handful of standards and enforce them, it will naturally become a part of your store culture.
Sometimes running a retail store is a lot like kissing frogs to find your prince. Whether it’s your team members, lawyer, or accountant, it’s important to take the time to find the best fit for the job.
Lately I have been thinking about the idea of practicing gratitude like a verb. It’s easy to become frustrated by customers that come into your store just to look or team members that aren’t doing exactly what you’d like them to do, but what if you changed your mindset to gratitude?
Having owned a retail business for almost two decades, I am well aware of the frustrations people face when their employees fail to meet their expectations. In this episode of Real Retail TV, I will break down the reasons behind this behavior and offer practical solutions to address it.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I share my fun and relaxed approach to vacation reading, and trust me, it’s a game-changer. This strategy allows me to unwind and recharge while opening up a world of inspiration.
The Good Chicken Rule comes from the idea of starting with good ingredients to make a great recipe. Making a great chicken dish starts with having good chicken, just like building a great team starts with hiring people who are an ideal fit.
Building a retail business you truly love starts with the end in mind. When you have a specific vision for what you want your future to look like, it becomes easier to fill in the steps that it will take to get there.
There is always something retailers can do to drive traffic. You simply have to think creatively and employ what I’m calling, The Piña Colada Principle.
To ensure you know where you’re headed, it’s necessary to have a clear understanding of where you’re at. That’s why it’s so important to know where you land on your retailer’s journey. If your goal is to progress to the next level, you’ll need to equip yourself with the essential tools and strategies required to get there. No matter what stage you’re in, self-development is key. You cannot grow as a business owner if you’re not growing as a person.
I could tell you hundreds of stories about independent retailers doing extraordinary things. So what makes these stories so powerful? It’s because these retailers are doing the things the big brands and big box retailers can’t or won’t do.
Recently I went to the grocery store and decided to try a new hot sauce. I brought it home and it was horrible! So here’s my conundrum… What do you do with the things in your life that are no longer serving you? Do you leave them to take up space or clear them out to make room for something new?
After 40+ years working in the independent retail space, I believe these three pillars are necessary for success. If you have these three things in place, you will build the business you deserve and reap the benefits of that success. The three pillars are mindset, skillset, and structure. All of these things tie into each other and can be proactively learned and achieved.
How do independent brick-and-mortar retailers become the store of choice? It comes down to two things that I explain in this episode of Real Retail TV. You have to be a skilled retailer and you have to commit to creating a great customer experience. It’s all about doing the things that the big box stores can’t or won’t do.
Is employee loyalty dead? Absolutely not. But just like customer loyalty, employee loyalty must also be earned. You have to make your employees feel valued and included. The labor market is much more fluid than it used to be. The best retailers will take this as an opportunity to level up their recruiting skills and build a deep bench.
If you automatically assume customer loyalty you are going to wind up disappointed. It’s not up to your customers to be loyal, it is up to you to earn their loyalty. There are many things you can do to engender customer loyalty. Proactively build the relationship by providing an exceptional in-store experience, implementing a great loyalty program, and having customer-friendly policies.
If you want to build a business that serves your life, now is the time to write a vision that will get you there. What do you really want from your business? How can you spend less time in your business and more time enjoying your life? A vision statement can become the roadmap to get you to the future you desire.
Should independent retailers be passing along these fees to their customers? The short answer is no. It’s your #1 competitive advantage to be able to provide an incredible in-store experience. And no matter how wonderful your sales staff is or how perfect your merchandise is, when a customer goes to pay and sees that they’re being charged a credit card fee, they’re going to feel like they’re being nickeled and dimed.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I share what I believe to be the best store hours for independent retailers. The bottom line is, if you want to be competitive with the big box stores, you have to keep the same hours as they do. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to shop when they want to shop.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, you’ll discover how one simple question can get your team more focused and move you closer to your goals. Here at WhizBang! Training, we teach W.W.M.C.W. (What Would My Customer Want?). When you ask yourself this before any customer interaction you can easily build a culture that creates customer loyalty.
Main Street isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind. Whether your store is in a quaint downtown, in a strip mall, or in the middle of nowhere, you can still be a “Main Street” merchant. The main street state of mind encompasses the power you hold as an independent retailer. It’s your creativity and your customer focus that drive local loyalty.
After 40+ years of experience in retail, I have identified 12 traits that make successful independent retailers. In order to become competitive in today’s market, store owners need to build a strong foundation with these characteristics.
One mistake I see many retailers make is putting all of their efforts into new customer acquisition when in reality, the easiest way to grow your business is by increasing your average ticket. But beyond that, the big money really comes from getting your current customers to shop with you more often.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to self-criticize when we start to feel overwhelmed. This habit can hold you back from the true success that comes when you are able to let go of negative thoughts and let your creativity flow.
AI is revolutionizing retail! Indie retailers are already taking advantage of this technology to create more personalized customer experiences, streamline content creation and save time and resources for other tasks.
You deserve to have success in your business. You deserve to have more fun in your business. In this episode of Real Retail TV, I implore you to take a look at what it will take to get you to the inflection point on that success curve.
In this episode of Real Retail TV I share three of the most common and costly mistakes I see retail store owners and managers making when training their teams. As brick and mortar retailers your competitive advantage is your ability to give your customers a great experience, and that starts with training.
Does your business make you feel overwhelmed? You deserve a business that gives you freedom! The key is team training. You can create a culture that allows you to get out of your store and gives you mind freedom, time freedom, physical freedom, and financial freedom.
Is your team’s lackluster performance taking up too much space in your mind? The truth is that the end to your frustration with your employees depends on you. If you love your store and you want your employees to be loyal, then you owe it to them to build a training program that lays out the steps they need to be successful and take pride in their work.
Independent retailers have the ability to give their customers an experience that the big box stores can’t compete with. In order to provide a great experience you need to give your team the tools they need to execute it. If you’re serious about building a culture that creates customer and team loyalty then you’re going to need a rock-solid training program.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I explore the future of retail leadership. There has been a huge shift in the last few years. There is no longer room for store owners who think that just “showing up” is enough. As we talked about last week, expectations are up and loyalty is down. Customers expect a great experience. The key is to educate, engage, and empower your team.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I explore three reasons you might be losing customers. In the world of retail, expectations are up and loyalty is down. It’s important to create a smooth and easy shopping experience for your customers to keep them close and keep them coming back.
When I owned the Mackinaw Kite Company, I was constantly getting donation requests. I knew that the requests were coming from good people working for a cause they believed in, but the sheer number of requests became overwhelming. That’s why Susan and I have created a group of strategies that we call WhizBang! Cause Marketing.
When you create a promotion, it’s important to think about the big picture. What is the purpose of the promotion? Is it to activate existing customers or get new customers? Are you working on building relationships and building your database? Or are you simply trying to generate cash and reduce inventory? When you start with your purpose in mind you will be much more effective and efficient.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, you’ll discover a system for proactively driving foot traffic into your store. Once you understand the formula you will be able to get more strategic with your marketing tactics.
In today’s episode of Real Retail TV, I share what I believe to be the most important thing to drive your success in 2023. What you think determines what you do. When you think the right things, you do the right things. That will lead you to get the results you deserve, and you deserve to have a fantastic year.
Happy New Year retailers! You made it through yet another year of challenges and triumphs and I couldn’t be more excited for you. In this episode of Real Retail TV, I talk about my favorite, super-simple, planning process to help you get your goals accomplished in 2023.
The holiday season is ripe for stress and overwhelm, especially for store owners so I would like to encourage you to shift your perspective. It’s easy to start comparing numbers to previous years and get discouraged. But what you need to realize is just how far you’ve come. You are playing the long game.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I share some of my favorite hacks to get a good night’s rest. This is especially important during this busy season. Getting a good night’s sleep will have you ready to take on the holiday rush.
The holidays can be stressful! In this episode of Real Retail TV, I discuss some of my favorite techniques to use when you’re dealing with a difficult customer or having a frustrating day.
To be able to “print money” you need to have an amazing marketing plan. When you’re building a great marketing plan, it’s not just about finding good ideas. You have to want to learn the mindset, skillset, and structure that it will take to get to that next level.
Black Friday is just a few days away! In this episode of Real Retail TV, I share a few simple gift card promotion ideas that you can execute quickly, without a lot of extra work.
In this week’s Real Retail TV, I take a deeper dive into last week’s topic on change. Every time you make a decision to change, you are exhibiting courage. Taking these steps will not only expand your comfort zone but also boost your confidence.
Wishing for your business to grow isn’t enough. In order to get different, better results, you need to change. You have to change your habits and skills to learn how to get to the next level. It can sometimes feel unsettling to fall into a new routine, but it’s necessary to step up your game as a retailer.
You’ve probably heard me say that there has never been a better time to be an independent retailer. After the lockdowns of 2020 you saw an outpouring of love from your communities like never before. That disruption has opened up an incredible opportunity for independent retailers. Don’t miss out on this moment in history!
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I share one of the biggest takeaways from our recent Platinum Mastermind Group meeting. The truth is, there is no silver bullet to creating a great culture. It’s all of the little things that add up over time that create the team and ultimately, the lifestyle you want.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s important to recognize that you do not have to have storewide discounts associated with your promotions. The best retailers have a robust calendar of promotions and events that don’t include markdowns.
One lesson you need to learn as a retailer is that selling isn’t sleazy. In fact, when done correctly, selling is just another form of great customer service. When you’re interacting with your customers, the end goal should always be to get them to the perfect purchase. Getting them to that purchase may even require adding on more items to ensure they leave with everything they need to feel satisfied. Becoming a great salesperson doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a skill that requires training and practice.
This is one of the most important lessons you can learn as an entrepreneur. You are not your business. The success of your business does not determine your value. It’s important to remember that there are so many other parts of you that make up who you are as a person.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I share one of the best ways to get your holiday shoppers coming back long after the season is over. The opportunity to turn casual shoppers into lifelong customers is huge and Blizzard Bucks makes it far less challenging. This is a great way to grow your business by increasing your number of transactions per customer.
In the tricky world we live in, your beliefs and your thoughts surrounding your retail business are not to be overlooked. If you think the right way and do the right things, the success of your store is imminent.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I share some of my favorite ways to build your margins for the holidays. Often retailers focus on building sales alone without giving much thought to margins. The holiday season is a great time to not only boost your sales but build your margins as well.
Competition for independent retailers is getting tougher every day. Your #1 competitive advantage is providing a great experience for your customers. In this episode of Real Retail TV, I go over the importance of building your bench, aka, recruiting skillfully, and training your staff to sell so that you’re prepared when the holiday season arrives.
As a business owner, you need to take care of yourself first. If you’re neglecting your own needs, your store will ultimately suffer. This means taking time off to relax, reset, and think about the ultimate vision you have for your business by getting out of the day-to-day tasks
In one of my previous episodes of Real Retail TV, I talked about how we created a “Yo-yo boom” when my brother Steve and I owned Mackinaw Kite Company. In this episode, I want to share some of the pitfalls we ran into with our promotions and the tiny tweaks that made a dramatic difference in our sales.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I highlight 3 local farmers who are doing things right when it comes to keeping great hours, bundling, and sampling to sell. Take these lessons and use them in your store to make more money!
For this week’s episode of Real Retail TV, we’re excited to be sharing a clip from the keynote address from the 2022 Retail Success Summit. In it, you’ll discover the opportunities available today for independent retailers like you. All you have to do is go out and take advantage of them!
As a store owner dealing with vendors, customers, and employees, chances are you are going to run into annoying situations. I learned this tactic from Ken Barr Jr., a Gallup Certified Strengths coach, who came into the office to work with our team. Once I heard it, I knew I needed to share it with you. The method is simple, yet powerful.
Are you making deposits in your customer’s emotional bank account or are you always making withdrawals? This is such an important aspect of your marketing efforts that many people ignore. You must give to get.
It takes guts to make changes and try something new, but that’s the only way to get real results. If you are stuck in a rut of complaining or just hoping for the best, it’s time to level up.
How did I get 100+ teenagers to sell millions of dollars worth of Yo-yo’s when I owned the Mackinaw Kite Company? The answer is simple, it all came down to training. When your staff knows what to do and has the confidence and tools to do it correctly, you will be amazed at the change you see and the new freedom you have.
How would you like to take a vacation or sit down for a family dinner without thinking about the stresses of running your store? I have broken it down into 4 Freedoms that every store owner desires: time freedom, mind freedom, physical freedom, and financial freedom. Training is the key to building the business of your dreams.
Do you struggle to get your employees to do what you want them to do? Learning these reasons will help you start moving your team in the right direction. Giving your staff the tools they need to get the job done is half the battle.
If you want to get your local non-profit organizations enthusiastically sending their members and supporters into your store then this episode of Real Retail TV is for you.
I always say, “Love your customers, and the money will follow.” This week I was given a true example of this message at our local health food store, The Health Hut.
There are only three ways to grow your business, one of which is building your average sale. An easy and effective way to do this is by increasing your margins.
Recently there has been a lot of uncertainty and discussion around a possible recession. I am here to tell you that I have personally lived through 4 recessions while owning a retail business. An important thing to remember is that just because there is a recession, it does not mean that it will have a huge impact on your business.
When you switch to customer-focused sales training you realize that everyone has a story. Since you never know what is going on in someone’s life, the best strategy is to always be kind.
Creating habits that contribute to your personal development is one of the best things you can do to improve your life as a business owner. Journaling has been a practice I have kept for 25 years.
If you want to create the business of your dreams, a business that serves your life and helps you build your best life. Then, this episode of Real Retail TV is for you!
Burnout can be a huge problem for independent retailers. In this episode of Real Retail TV, I go over 5 easy ways to beat burnout and get your creative juices flowing again!
In this episode, we’re going to discuss why it’s natural to think small. I’ll share a single simple shift you can make to start thinking differently, to start thinking and growing bigger.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I address a question from our WhizBang! Retailers Facebook group on negotiating leases for your business. When it comes to legal advice, you want to make sure you are talking to a professional.
One of the most-loved parts of the Retail Success Summit is the Retail Rumble where Susan and I battle it out giving you a lightning round of 60 ideas in 60 minutes. One of our clients saved $30,000 in one year using just ONE of those ideas we shared. I hope this short 10-minute clip from the 2018 Retail Rubble will show you just how valuable it is to be there in person!
Earlier this week, I did a Facebook live with Kaila Piepkow from Dox Design and she shared three of her top tips for retailers on branding. She shared that you branding is more than just pretty images and colors, it’s the emotional connection your customers have with your business.
The Retail Success Summit has been such a successful event because we always use this Perpetual Improvement Process. It’s simple, after you host any event or promotion, be sure to sit down with your team to discuss what worked and what needs tweaked for the next year!
In this episode of Real Retail TV you will get to see an actual clip from the Retail Success Summit in 2018 where Susan teaches you how you can manage your marketing in just one day per month!
You deserve to have success in your business. You deserve to have more fun in your business. In this episode of Real Retail TV, I implore you to take a look at what it will take to get you to the inflection point on that success curve.
In this Retail Retail TV, you’re going to discover the simplest (and best) customer loyalty program for independent, brick and mortar retail stores.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I discuss a concept from Dan Sullivan’s book, The Gap And The Gain. The idea is to measure your success backwards and focus on all of the things you have accomplished. Get out of the gap and focus on the gain.
My ‘Give 2 Get’ System to grow your business asks, “What can I give to get what I want?” This goes back to the rule of reciprocity, meaning that when you give someone something they will feel the psychological need to reciprocate.
It is very important to create a vision for your business because if you build your business the wrong way, if you prop your ladder on the wrong wall, you will end up with a business that isn’t serving you. Watch this Real Retail TV to learn more now!
In this episode of Real Retail TV I explore one of the biggest and most common mistake retailers make. Make sure you’re putting your money where it matters most by investing in your team.
In this episode of Real Retail TV I discuss what I believe to be the best strategy and philosophy to help build your business. When you adopt this strategy everything in your business will start to become easier and more fun.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I sit down with Tammy Beideman from Sweet Elizabeth Jane in Ellicott City, Maryland to discuss how shifting her beliefs made all of the difference in her business.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I take a detailed look at one of my favorite independent retail stores. The takeaways I found are great lessons for any retailer looking to improve their customer experience.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I explore the idea of working less and thinking more. As we head into the new year, one of the best things you can do as a business owner is to take a personal inventory to find out what problems you want to solve once and for all.
This Real Retail TV episode is a replay, but the planning process I share is still relevant and just as important as ever. Use this “down and dirty” planning process for the new year to properly manage your time and actually get things checked off of your to-do list in 2022.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I explain why you should look at holiday returns as an opportunity to gain new customers and increase loyalty. The great news is, returns mean more and possibly new customers walking into your store.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I go over some of my top tips to help get you successfully through the last few weeks of the holiday season. Take care of yourself, take care of your staff, and be sure to enjoy time with family and friends. You’ve earned it! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I examine a story about overcoming adversity. It is no secret that for retailers these last two years have been filled with difficult situations that needed quick solutions and tenacity. If you are watching this video, the odds are you have made it through, you still have your store and here you are going through another holiday season. I am here to tell you that you’ve got this.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, I take a brief look at the history of retail and how it has evolved. There is no longer room for “hobbyists” or “shopkeepers” in the new omni-experiential world. Those who do not accept the change and challenges of the future will be left behind.
The holidays are stressful, no matter what you do, or who you are. And as a retailer, they are particularly stressful and challenging, especially this year. In this episode of Real Retail TV, I’ll share two tips to make your holidays easier.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, we’re going to take a deep dive into how entrepreneurs can get the best sleep. Follow these tips and you’ll be bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to greet more holiday shoppers.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, we’re going to explore how to make the 2021 holiday season your best ever. This holiday season is going to be tricky between supply chain issues, labor challenges, and the fact that the pandemic is still among us. Here are four ways to really make this holiday season a great one because there is a tremendous opportunity. You just have to be prepared to take advantage of it.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, we’ll discuss why it’s so important to talk to each of your customers about how much they want to spend when they are shopping with you during the holidays. This video came directly from Holiday Selling Course inside the Retail Sales Academy.
In this episode of Real Retail TV, we are going to explore the three mindsets of successful retailers. I have worked with literally thousands upon thousands of independent retailers like you and have discovered the mindsets that distinguish the most successful. I want you to think about whether you have these mindsets, if you do, how do you strengthen them and if you don’t, how do you develop them?