Posted in Consulting

How to make your corner store thrive. Migrating birds fly in V-formation, why don’t you?

It is appropriate for me to start this post by stating, the successful one-person-business is nothing more than a myth. So, if you are spending 8 to 10 hours by yourself at your corner store, you and your business are barely surviving. The key to having a successful corner store is making a profit after you pay for your overhead. You should also offer convenience and give your customers a sense of familiarity with your products because of your thorough knowledge of their subculture and the local culture. Lastly, your repeat customers should eventually develop a sense of ownership – e.g., one customer will say, this one is ours, our own Caribbean store; another customer will say, this is our neighborhood store, and the owner is one of us. The sheer size and location of your business can bring that “feel” to a corner store though you may be part of a much larger business system. One of the many reasons you opened your small business was probably to be your own boss, and now, as a Management Analyst, I am emphasizing to you the importance of networking with other store owners and running your business within the frameworks of a much larger business system. There are so many benefits to working together. Store owners that share information, continually help one another buy the right products. Moreover, knowing which “perishable items sell quickly” can save you time and money and is therefore a good piece of information to have when running a corner store. It is also crucial to know that all products displayed in any store should be thought of as having a “shelf life.” So, how long are you going to keep some of those products on the shelves, before having a SALE of some kind. I am sure that you can figure that out on your own but the sharing of information through a business system make that process much quicker and take most of the guess work out of it. Many corner store owners take pride in sharing with me that they have greater buying power when they pull their resources together to buy familiar products or items customers want from a main supplier. Migratory birds fly in V-formation for some of the same reasons just mentioned in this post but yet, a number of store owners are still convinced the only way to run their shop is to “fly solo.” Birds fly south in some types of formation to conserve energy, facilitate orientation and communication among themselves, steer clear of dangerous pitfalls, and hence determine a clear sense of direction. So, my questions to you are as follows: Are you in this for the long haul? Are you in business just to survive? Or, do you want your shop to thrive?

A corner store with the right visibility and enough foot traffic can benefit from at least three (3) business systems that comprise my area of expertise. First, becoming an Authorized Ship Center for CentEx Cargo would definitely make your business thrive in any geographic area where our group has a substantial logistics presence. However, CentEx Cargo has the stellar reputation of working together only with high performing stores – i.e., stores that sell moving supplies and generate lots of shipping business. How much success do you really want? A CentEx Cargo Agent could brainstorm with you on how to advertise individually and together with our group. We have had instances where we were more than willing to provide temporary staffing or a part-time Shipping Clerk to a CentEx Cargo Authorized Ship Center that was generating such a large volume of international shipping business. Second, becoming a U-HAUL truck rental center would complement your business and get you over the hump to becoming a one-stop shop. Third, UPS finds corner stores that sell lots of moving supplies and have the right logistics support and customer base very attractive. Becoming an Authorized Shipping Outlet for UPS would make your one-stop shop complete. UPS would help your business send packages throughout the United States while CentEx Cargo would be responsible for the international shipping service aspect of your one-stop shop. And this is one of the many ways of turning a one-person business into a successful venture.

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