Articles for Retailers - by Tom Shay

Ten Characteristics of a Successful Art Materials Business Owner
by Tom Shay

1.   The individual enjoys what they are doing. You can see it in their faces when they walk into their businesses. There is a pleasant smile for each customer and staff member. There is a sincere word spoken to each.  They are always looking for information and ideas that will give them a competitive edge in their marketplace.

2.   They know their first job is to manage the business. While they may be the best salespeople or technicians within their businesses, they understand the numbers necessary for financial management. They have plans for the future and they know what they want to do and are not allowing conditions to dictate to them.  Almost everyone works at the business. Successful owners or managers know when to work in the business and when to work on the business. When they are working on the business, they are doing the job that no one else in the business can do.

3.   They are active in their community and their industry trade associations. They will tell you about the benefits - new ideas, new business, new connections - they have received as a result of their participation.  This interaction brings a boost to their spirits.

4.   They attend industry trade shows and seminars. They know the progressive competitor is going to be there, and the complacent competitor will be staying home.  They know that the trade show is where they write orders, look for niche-market opportunities, and get a feel for where the industry is headed and how fast it is getting there.

5.   They deal with branding and marketing. Our owners or managers have a clearly defined, written and posted statement that explains what their business is attempting to do in the marketplace. Their marketing is the result of their constantly doing small experiments in unique ways of promoting.  The position marketing and promotion is always being updated to reflect the changes in their community and to appeal to their customers.

6. Business owners or managers are always looking for new products, categories or services to add to their businesses.

7. Successful business people are frequently reading business books and industry-related magazines. They stay current on industry issues, business and management trends as well as new products and services.

8. Successful businesses advertise and promote. They use a variety of social media platforms and support those efforts with advertising. They ask their customers how they found out about the store’s latest sale and they encourage them to get on the business’ email lists and Facebook page so they can get the latest information on sales and special events. The successful business also sponsors community events or donates product to local schools/clubs.

9. Successful business people understand the difference between selling and marketing products. Selling is getting rid of what you have on hand; marketing is having on hand what you know you can sell. Smart marketers, for example, know that they can often purchase products for the best price at their industry trade show. They know they can move these products in their store. They also know their customer base and what products will sell.

10. Successful business people utilize technology to learn more about his business. From point-of-sale software to detailed inventory reports to accounting packages . . . a successful business person embraces technology. They take the time to study the information their software can provide him and use it to make smart decisions.

Tom Shay is a fourth generation small business owner, author, columnist, coach and speaker who has authored several training manuals for retailers that can be found in the Resources section of the NAMTA website – His knowledge of small business marketing, business strategy, staffing, and financial management have provided small business owners with the help necessary to increase their profits plus build their business for the future. You can learn more here -