Is consulting right for you? Is your retail business too small to get a consultant? Is a mentor the same as getting a therapist?!
Consulting can be a daunting word. It’s so formal. It evokes an image of a grey office, a large boardroom table and death by powerpoint! Consulting sounds like something big companies sign up for, not independent retail owners who have 1 or 2 boutiques and would be afraid to say their real sales figures out loud (been there)!
I prefer the word mentoring to consulting however they actually look very different. Some business owners need/want mentoring to help them move forward with their business, to keep them on track, give them accountability and help them have the confidence to achieve what their business needs from them.
Consulting projects however typically work more like having an extension of your team, drawing on the experience and expertise of the consultant to add extra skills required for a particular phase or project.
My projects usually include a combination of both of these as most independent retail owners that I speak to need a mix of both. They need advice on running their business and working more effectively to find more time for themselves and they also need experienced support to achieve key milestones such as opening a 2nd store, launching a website or choosing a new POS system.
If I had known, particularly during my early retail years, about a consulting & mentoring service aimed at me, the mum of 1 who had never worked in retail but who had somehow found herself with her first REAL boutique, an online store, a sales team and a rental lease for 3 years committed to, I would have jumped at the chance of help. I needed someone to explain my numbers to me, tell me what to really look for in my sales reports, advise me to stop using the wrong inventory software and to plan my buying more strategically. However, I never really looked for it as I just assumed it wasn’t possible for me to get consulting help as I was just a small boutique retailer. I guess I just assumed I was supposed to struggle and learn everything the hard way.
The reason I started this consulting business was after coming through 10+ years of growing my retail business, opening 10 stores, putting in the hours, the restless nights over cashflow, the early starts and being away from my family, I wanted to help other independent retailers through those tough times. I don’t want you all to have to ‘learn the hard way’ or to further risk your financial situation for your business when it isn’t working and it isn’t giving back to you as you need it to. I want you all to succeed and to thrive with your business and I want to share what I learnt on my journey and what I continue to learn in this industry.
Whilst not every retail business can succeed, you have a greater chance of making it work if you have the right strategies, you focus your time on the things that make a big difference to your business, you take advice on your branding and merchandising and you admit which areas of your business scare the heck out of you and therefore you keep avoiding them. (been there too!).
No retail business is too small, too new or in too much of a mess for consulting. If you want to have a preliminary call to discuss how we can work together, drop me a message through the contact page and we can set up a call to chat it through. Don’t stay stuck in a retail rut.