Attire Bridal - Apr/Mar 2020 (Issue 76)

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS HELENA COTTER T: +44 (0)7896 944 759 E: W: @HCCoaching @HCSalesTraining DON’T GET DISTRACTED In a busy retail environment as a business owner, your attention can be constantly switching from one thing to another. Forward planning can often be overlooked due to demanding daily business duties – then gets pushed to one side, gathering cobwebs! To ensure your forward planning receives the attention it deserves, work away from your premises wherever possible. This will eliminate interruptions and improve your focus, as well as allowing you to see your business from the outside – and perhaps how your customers perceive your business, too. The old adage “can’t see the wood for the trees” is very true in bridal retail. Sometimes customers can be seen as an interruption, as there’s so much to do on a day-to-day basis! However, when you take time to clear the clutter – or the bridal fog, as I call it – it will give you the vision and thought processes required to help you target areas of the business which may need attention; the priorities. ENGAGE WITH YOUR TEAM Forward planning will become easier, and more straightforward, if it includes staff members’ points of view and feedback. Remember: when you involve staff early on, you will receive their favourable support for any plans. Not only will they be more inclined to see those aims through and work with you to tweak any areas which may need adapting, but they will feel part of the decision- making process. This is conducive to job satisfaction, and employee longevity. What’s more, when you regularly encourage open and free discussions during the planning process, all your staff will be on board with the final result. They will feel valued, which creates a climate of trust. KNOW WHO YOU ARE The vision and standards you have for your business will set a realistic compass direction for any forward planning. A good starting point is to be crystal clear, honest and sincere with yourself and others about why you opened your business; where you want your business to go from here; what you ultimately want to be known for; and your core beliefs, values and standards. When you do this, you can use the results as a foundation upon which to build your forward planning. KNOW WHERE YOU ARE To enable yourself to know where you are going, you must have a point to start at. Analyse your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; in other words, conduct a SWOT analysis. You will then be able to identify your current situation, and highlight internal and external factors which may help or bind you as you work to achieve your goals. SET THOSE GOALS Try to identify long-term strategic objectives; think two to four years as an example, but include short-term goals that can be achieved over 12 months. This can include areas such as launching new products or services, attracting new customers, increasing profitability and enhancing your premises visibility – as well as your online presence. Whatever those goals may be, ensure they’re both challenging as well as achievable. PLAN FOR SUCCESS Once goals have been clarified, think about what you’ll need to achieve them – so identify the resources required for you to implement the changes. For instance, staff, new wholesale companies, facilities, equipment and any paid advertising, together with the associated costs – and, of course, the direct impact further investment will have on your finances. STAND AND DELIVER There’s no point taking time to write a plan only to file it away! Give yourself deadlines to deliver your vision, such as an action plan with tasks and responsibilities. Liaise with your team, keeping them in the loop as you’re going along. And remember to be flexible: this industry changes all the time. So, with that in mind, be willing, ready and able to adapt to changing market conditions. No doubt one of your plans for 2020 is for your business to continue to thrive. Bridal retail consultant Helena Cotter offers advice for continued success COME CHAT TO ME! I shall be at Birmingham, Harrogate and Bristol with The Bridal Roadshow this year, and am offering a half hour free sales consultation competition prize, over the phone, for one retailer each day over the shows. Visit for dates. 96