small retail

Celebrating National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day - March 29th

One of the biggest advantages of owning  a local business – is being a local business! There’s a beauty and charm about mom and pop enterprises that consumers crave.  Plus, the shop local movement has gained such momentum in the past few years, people are now making a conscious decision to seek out local mom and pops.

So take advantage of your stature and prepare for a successful celebration of National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day. Here are seven tips for owning the day!

1. Start posting photos (and videos!) of yourself on social media. Identify yourself as the owner and give your posts a conversational tone. If it’s a family business, be sure to include everyone in the project. Let people know that you are not just trying to sell them something; let them know you’re vested in the community!

2. Redo the “About Us” page on your website by beefing up your back story.  Include family photos and your history within your community. People love to hear multi-generation stories and sentimental tales of how you got the original idea for your business from your grandmother.

3. Create a prominent sign for inside your store, “Proud to be a locally-owned business.” You can even add the organizations you support.  Then use the tag wherever you can: on receipts, in your newsletter, on your website – even on your price tags.

4. Identify a local community organization and create a partnership. It can be a school, a charity or other non-profit serving your community.  As part of the Mom and Pop Business Owners Day celebration,  hold a fundraiser (it can even be virtual on social media), host an event, or promote them through your newsletter or blog. Let customers know you are a contributing member of your community.

5. Pitch a story about your business to a local business or community blogger.

6. Hold a “Mom and Pop Business Owners Day” promotion, sale, event or giveaway. Invite your community partners, local influencers and guests to come celebrate ---you!  

You've got a few weeks to plan so make it a great one. Let me know what you plan to do in the comments below. 

Until next time remember, 
You can do this!


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One easy way to get your staff in the spirit to sell more this holiday season


Looking for ways to get your staff pumped this holiday season?  I know one surefire way to light a fire under them….and that’s to pay them!

       Even if money is tight, there are ways to incentivize staff for selling more without                     being a drain on cashflow or margins.

       Even if you don’t ordinarily have a bonus program, there’s no reason not to implement one       just for the holiday season.

Most retailers earn 20-30 percent of their annual revenue during the holidays.  This is the time of year you want to maximize every single sales opportunity! And incentives are a great way to motivate staff.

Here are some DO’S and DONT’S for setting up a successful bonus program.

Understand what motivates your staff. What makes them drool? Depending on their age and tenure, it might be time off or perks like merchandise or gift certificates. It doesn’t always have to be money.  

Just offer a blanket reward on all items sold. A bonus program needs to work on both sides. That means your employees get incentivized for meeting their goals – and yours!

Let’s say for example, last year's holiday sales were $100,000 and your goal is to increase that number by 20 percent this year to $120k. Your staff incentives should be based on achieving or exceeding this year’s goal. That way any additional commission or bonus you’re awarding is coming out of new revenue.

Consider segmenting
Let’s say you’d like to grow sales for a new line or service. Perhaps you’d like to increase average sale. You can create a bonus program around any specific segment of business you’d like!

Tier the bonus structure. Add even more delicious opportunity for your staff after they’ve hit the goal. Using the example above with a goal of $120k, add an additional incentive if you reach $130k. In sales, we call that a BHAG (Big hairy Audacious Goal.) You’d be amazed at the enthusiasm you can generate around a big, fat opportunity.

Train. Train. Train.
Just implementing a program isn’t enough. You need to host regular training to help your staff achieve their goals.

Be afraid to instill a little competition among your staff. Most owners I work with are afraid that competition is divisive but it can create a ton of energy and ultimately, great results!

Make sure your goals are reasonable and achievable. Goals should be a stretch but not so stratospheric that they can’t possibly be met. Shooting too high will only discourage your staff. 

Good luck in putting together your bonus program! If you have any questions, email me at

Until next time remember,
You can do this!

How to do a digital "tuneup" before the holidays


In retail, there’s one thing we know with absolute certainty these days - the customer is always shopping! They are researching and surfing 24/7 from their computer, tablet or phone. They access websites, social media pages and review sites like Yelp to help them decide what and where to buy.  

It’s very likely that a potential customer’s first point of contact with your business is going to be via a digital doorway. Are yours set up to make the best impression?

Here’s an easy pre-holiday digital tune up.

Make sure your platform is mobile responsive
Today, significantly more users are accessing the web from a tablet or smartphone than a desktop and it’s important they enjoy an optimal experience on these smaller screens.  If your website was built some time ago, there’s a chance it’s not mobile responsive, meaning it’s difficult to read, doesn’t flow well and the photos are too small when viewed on a smaller screen. To check, just access your site from your phone. Does it look good and read correctly? If not, I strongly recommend  having your site updated.

Evaluate your overall website effectiveness by asking a simple question
Your website might be the first point of contact for a potential customer. You want to insure it
is inviting, properly conveys your brand message and is easy to use. A simple litmus test
is to ask yourself, “If someone who didn’t know anything about my business visited
my website, would they have a true understanding of what my store is about?”

Be honest in your evaluation and if your site isn’t a true representation of your business,            
update text and photos to convey the desired impression.

All digital platforms
Take an inventory of the information on your website, social media and all review sites
Is the following information is available,  easily accesable and correct:

Address and locator map
Hours/Holiday hours
Phone and email contact information
Social media links

Add a back story
Thanks  to Small Business Saturday and other shop local programs, consumers have a
heightened awareness of the importance of shopping local during the holidays.
Use this to your advantage by creating your personal back story and promoting it across all platforms.Let potential buyers know they are supporting a real person who lives in and supports the localcommunity.

Review sites
If you aren’t boasting enough shiny 5-star ratings to make a potential customer swoon, this is a great time to reverse the trend.

First, and most importantly, make sure any of the legitimate issues mentioned in the reviews have been resolved.Then invite disgruntled reviewers to give you another shot and update their reviews to a, hopefully, better rating. Also, make a point to solicit new reviews from customers daily so they are current and flattering.

These are just a few digital tweaks that can make a big difference in a consumer’s first impression. But the final push is all about content. Work on your holiday content strategy now and get it ready to rock and roll. Start posting photos, text and videos now that will engage followers, boast your brand personality and, of course, contribute to increasing your search rankings.

Until next time, remember...
You can do this!


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