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37 Questions You Need to Ask About Your Retail Business

retail business

Every retailer can relate to the nonstop list of things to do in an effort to help keep their retail business alive and relevant. Possibly more so, however, most businesses can relate to having a “wish-list” of things to do for your business that entail some extra dollars being spent.

Whether it’s relocating your business from one location to another, hanging a new awning above your entrance, introducing a different point of sale system, or investing in an overdue training experience for your employees, there is likely something — if not many things — on your own wish-list that will cost you money.

As retail business owners, maintaining a wish-list of things to invest in for your business is actually a good thing. After all, without making improvements or updates to your business, how can you expect to stay relevant in a very competitive marketplace?

To help determine what should become reality first, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you currently meeting the weekly, monthly and annual financial goals you have for your retail business?

    • If not, what are the top three reasons this is the case?
    • If so, what will push you to the next level of financial success?
  • Are your customers most often one-time customers, loyal customers or walk-by/drive-by customers?

    • Do you believe you should have a higher percentage of repeat customers than you currently do?
    • What’s the #1 lead generator for you to gain new customers?
    • Is there a category of customers you could gain that you currently don’t support?
    • What are you currently doing to attract new customers?
    • What are you currently not doing to attract new customers but you have wanted to do for awhile?
  • Does your business storefront and entrance clearly communicate what your business offers and / or does?

    • Can you quickly identify what your business does from as far as 50 feet away?
    • Do customers ever get confused by what your business offers when they walk through your door? (Read more: How to Capture Attention in Your Store)
    • Are customers asking you for inventory or services that you don’t sell based on your business name, store facade or for any other reason?
  • Who are your competitors and what do they do that delivers success for their business that you currently don’t?

    • Does their location help influence their customer attraction?
    • Do they have a loyal following of customers and if so, why?
    • Are they weaker or stronger than you in terms of annual sales (based on your estimation)?
    • What are the top three strengths — if any — you believe they have over you?
    • What are their top three weaknesses — if any — you believe they have over you?
  • How are you currently tracking sales?

    • Do you use a point of sale system and if so, do you like it? Why or why not?
    • Does your POS system deliver data for you to routinely analyze your sales?
    • Does this same system offer insight into your customers and their spending habits, including frequency and total dollars spent per purchase?
    • Does this same system offer insight on your best selling services and / or products?
    • Does this same system offer insight on inventory that has not sold, as well as identify a timeline as to when it was first delivered to your store?
    • Is this system easy to use for all employees who should be interacting with it in your company?
  • Are you confident that the employees of your company represent your business as best as possible?

    • Are all employees familiar with your store or business policies?
    • When was the last time — if ever — you offered employee training?
    • Do you regularly give employee reviews? If so, how often? If not, why not?
    • Do you need more staff but can’t afford to hire anyone?
    • Do you have current employees who could use training to improve their skill-set for your business?
    • Are any of your employees due for a raise or bonus based on your standards of employee performance?
  • Are there any professional growth opportunities that you want to be a part of but can’t afford?

    • Do you belong to membership based groups unique to your niche category of business? If not, do you want to be?
    • Are educational opportunities available in your unique category of business to help you strengthen your business success?
    • Do you budget for trade shows and / or other professional events that allow you to connect with vendors for your business?

Using the above questions as a baseline, reflect on your responses to help determine where you may be best suited to invest more money. For example, if you have identified that your strongest competitor is positioned in a great location that helps them gain walk-by business as well as stronger annual sales, how do you think your business may benefit from being in a different location?

Another example may be if you have determined your point of sale system is out of date, therefore not offering you the critical data you need to maximize sales and customer retention. Ultimately, you should use your responses from the questions above to help identify what opportunities your business has that can be improved. And as a result? You now have a better idea of where you should consider investing dollars to help your retail business reach new levels of success.

Which funding is right for your business?