Editorial Jan/Feb 2008
By Amanda Ryder
Celebrating the New in New Year
As you read this issue, New Year’s is just around the corner. It’s a busy time for everyone as you’re likely already looking beyond the cold, white stuff outside on to the next growing season. To help you prepare for 2008, we’ve filled this issue with articles geared towards adding something new to your centre – this could mean tapping into the green movement with native plants (page 30), taking a look at the signage you’re using throughout your centre (page 12) or offering more off-season seminars and workshops to new and seasoned gardeners (page 20).
The new year is not only a natural time for resolutions but it is also a great time to reflect back to see what has worked for you and what hasn’t. Here are some things to consider doing when you’re looking back on 2007.
1. Review your business plan – Did you make your budget? Did your margins meet your expectations? What were the hidden costs you didn’t account for? Update your business plan with what worked this year and what didn’t to get it ready for 2008.
2. Count your inventory – Look at what sold through and what is still sitting on your shelves. Do you need to cut back orders? Buy at different times? Go with a new supplier? Now is the time to make changes.
3. Who’s the competition? – Examine who your main competitors are. What do they offer? What do you offer that they can’t? How can you keep a step ahead?
4. Look at the inside and outside – Customers expect something new in the new year. Now’s the perfect time to evaluate your merchandising and store design.
5. Evaluate employees – Is it time for more training or a raise? On the flip side, is an employee not working out? Examine the value of your employee by asking whether you would want them working for your competitor.
6. Analyze the highs and lows – Was there a time when you were unexpectedly busy? Look at your sales cycle. How can you extend the busy times and shorten the slow ones?
7. Identify your big customers – Who are your best customers? Study their characteristics and demographics. If you have a good relationship with your best customers, why not ask them what they’d like to see change at the store?
8. Assess your advertising – Renew or rethink your current advertising contracts and look for new avenues to explore, like the Internet, e-mail marketing or e-newsletters.
9. Be open to new opportunities – Read up on the forecasted trends for 2008. Is there a new product you want to pick up? Think about what your target market might be looking for and find ways to incorporate it into your centre.
10. Branch out – Review the industry trade shows taking place in 2007. Shows are great places to attend seminars, to network or to find great new products.
11. File your notes – Now that you’ve taken the time to make the notes, file them in a place where you can find them next year!
Here at the magazine, we’ve also been reflecting back to make sure that we continue to provide you with information that will help you run your centre. We’ve added a new “Going Green” department and will be launching a website redesign in the upcoming months. Stay tuned and, as always, feel free to let me know how we can serve you better.