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Make Change Last

Change

Everybody experiences a major change at least once in their life. The change can take form in a natural disaster, a change in health, or relationships. The difference right now is everyone is experiencing a significant change at the same time.

Foundational change

Like many businesses, the pandemic highlighted foundational problems in your business. If cash flow became a major issue within week one or two of the quarantine, it was likely always a problem. Same goes for difficult vendors or having too much inventory.

Some solutions to these mean not just increasing sales, but looking at what you have more control of (expenses, inventory, investments, purchasing, savings, etc). Fixing the cash flow problem for your business is the best long-term solution your business can have.

If vendors have been difficult, now is the time to make new relationships. Easier said than done, we know, but everyone needs a helping hand when times are tough.

And last but not least, fix your overstock problem. A rule of thumb is your average wholesale inventory level should be between one-half and one-quarter of your annual gross retail product sales. The closer your inventory is to a quarter of your annual sales, the better you are at managing your inventory stock than most other creative retail businesses.

Review procedures

As with any drastic change, it becomes easier to try new things. If you made a sudden change to better adapt your business to operate during a pandemic, review that policy or procedure. A simple cost-benefit analysis should help you determine whether or not to keep that change, or leave it back in Q2.

For changes that make sense to keep around, determine a plan to ensure they remain moving forward. How can you keep providing online resources? Should you convert a classroom into a warehouse? These questions and more I’m sure are things your business has already considered.

For more information on how to make change last, check out “The Problem Spotlight” by Gwen Bortner published in the June issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

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Staying in business through the pandemic

Pandemic

Times may be strange as the world faces a pandemic for the first time in over 100 years, but many people are going to pick up new hobbies with all of this extra time. Quilt retailers across the nation can fill the creative void by providing craft tools in new ways.

Changes to make during a pandemic

Sales don’t have to decrease; you just may have to evaluate how you’re going to get your product to your customer. This may mean making an online store for the first time ever, or offering door-to-door delivery. Consider offering lessons through video conference calls, or create a virtual class through Facebook.

Be sure to let your customers know of your new services through increased marketing. Go live on social media, increase the frequency of your email blasts, and have employees reach out to loyal patrons through phone calls during the downtime in their work day.

And speaking of reaching out, remember the quilt community is the only community some of our customers have. Look into offering classes in public areas (while following social distancing guidelines), or a virtual quilt show.

Evaluate ways to save

Many of you have already had to make tough decisions; like which employees should you keep working and which will you have to layoff (even if it is just temporary).

If you don’t already, now is a great time to look at budgeting apps for your business’s finances. These apps will list what reoccurring payments your business is currently making that you can do without during the pandemic.

Another way to save money is to talk to your credit card holder or mortgage lender to see if your payments can be adjusted. We often view these expenses as fixed, but as the world isn’t operating normally right now, exceptions can likely be made.

Hang in there American Quilt Retailer community. By working together and sharing ideas, we can keep each other afloat.

Inspiration for this post comes from this article written by Gwen Bortner.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.