Monday, March 1, 2010

How to Keep your store from closing

I've noticed a trend of smaller shops closing in the last few months. The season has taken longer than usual to kick in for 2010. There are a ton of reasons including long winter, a lack of bank financing, Obama forgetting about the small business owner. The truth is all of the above, but the biggest reason is that scooter business operators believe its business as usual. They haven't adapted to the new realities.

The Scooter Shop can no longer rely on unit sales alone to survive in the scooter retail industry. It has to be a combination of buying experience, online networking, and incremental income from service. Basically you have to hustle and not just on repairs. We no longer are in an age where you can make a living repairing vintage bikes on the weekends. The key here is the incremental outside sales that are scalable and repeatable depending on the buying experience. Basically do more than just sell bikes and be able to give that experience over and over again.

I know I've said it before, but you have to make the store an experience. Now more than ever because selling the cheapest Chinese bike on the bloc doesn't help anyone. Actually it only helps the Chinese factories and will leave you on the street. So if you want to make a profit, focus on that experience factor.

Sounds complicated? It's not.

Create the Experience:
Get a TV for the store, get some bar stools, sell some cookies, coffee, turn the shop into a gathering place not a place where you just fix a flat tire. The combination of one business model and another can lead to higher profits. You can now buy a fully automated coffee espresso machine that requires little maintenance and make your own espresso bar. Having this scalable business model will allow you to sell that scooter client a shot today, an espresso tomorrow, and maybe an Armadillo Scooter jacket next month.

I've said it a million times, but you have to stock accessories as well. You can't stock everything but try battery tenders, a helmet, jacket, oil, essentials, plus weird things to get attention. Whenever I visit a new shop I look for interesting things I haven't seen before and sometimes Im surprised and buy something.

Sell Online:
I would say 6 out of 10 stores I talk to have no idea how to sell parts online. Out of the remaining 40% the majority buys a Powersports Network or site managed by someone else that costs them several thousand a year and unless properly maintained it really won't do much for the store since you're selling the same stuff the other guy is and competing against many of your own suppliers.

Get yourself a website where you sell essentials. No excuses you dont have a website you are dead. Go commit Harakiri tomorrow. I guarantee you that one of your other distributors is taking business from you right now like candy from a little kid because you don't sell online yet.

Social Location:
To make the Experience Complete you need to make sure there are places for customers to "Chill" certain things are taken for granted now like free Wi-Fi. This is a staple in many themed locations like coffee houses or bars. You need this in addition to the couches.

Food = Hangout:
You don't need to develop a bakery, but you can sell frozen baked goods that taste just as good as anything found at the local Starbucks. Ready made Muffins and pre-packaged bagels are easy sales on a Saturday Scooter Rally.

Focus on these outside sales. At the end of the year coffee, soda, muffins it all adds up and some stores make a ton of money. When I look at the guys thriving in a bad market its because they have outside sources of revenue. So keep the store alive, keep it social, and make some awesome displays. BELOW ARE SOME IDEAS

Just remember as a Scooter Store owner you have to actively pursue outside sales this includes the social crowd. Anyone in a college town should pay attention to this, it's important.

Some Videos below will give you some ideas enjoy:

No comments: