Spring is here! The weather is slowly getting warmer and the days longer… it’s the time of year when people start to leave winter’s hibernation mindset behind them and gear up for long, sunny days ahead.
If you’re a business owner – particularly a bricks-and-mortar retailer – chances are the winter months have meant a quieter period for foot traffic and sales. Which means now’s the perfect time to get your business in shape for spring and summer to ensure you can hit the ground running when things ramp up.
A thorough spring clean of your business is about more than a physical clean and tidy… though that’s important too! Use this time to evaluate what’s working and not working in your business, check that your financials are in good shape, and ensure you have the right team and products in place to make this spring and summer your most successful yet.
Is your business positioned for growth this spring? Here are a handful of tips to inspire your spring revamp.
1. Consider a pop-up
A pop-up shop or a booth at a local festival or event could be a great way to reach new customers and build your brand. Pop-ups are all the rage right now and offer great benefits for both new and existing businesses.
If you’re testing the water to see if leasing a retail space is the right move for you, a pop-up’s short-term nature and lower rent means less cost and risk than committing to an ongoing lease. Maybe you’re an online-only brand flirting with a bricks-and-mortar expansion? A pop-up will allow you to add a revenue stream to your online sales and test that location for its attractiveness. Even if you’re already running a successful physical shopfront, a pop-up could be a great way to trial new products or clear out old stock.
2. Refresh your website
Whether you’re a bricks-and-mortar store, an online-only business or a hybrid of the two, you need a strong digital presence to stay competitive. When’s the last time you took a good look at your website with a critical eye? Dated content, broken links, amateur photos or a website design that screams “early noughties” are all sending the wrong message about your brand.
If you’re struggling to critique your own website, ask friends or family for an honest review. Is your site engaging, is the navigation easy-to-use, can they find what they’re looking for, is the add-to-cart and checkout process quick and easy? You should also ensure that your website provides a number of different payment options, including alternatives like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
If you don’t yet have a website, use the time to look at your options. Tools like Square’s free online store and website builder mean it’s easier than ever to get your business online.
3. Get your stock in order
Take the opportunity to check your inventory and order spring/summer stock before the rush. Sort through your stock on hand and get rid of any damaged or obsolete products. If you discover a bunch of products that have been gathering dust but are still saleable, consider how best to move these and free up your storage space and cash flow.
When it comes to ordering spring/summer stock, do some research into upcoming trends and have a good look at what your competitors are up to. It’s also an excellent time to review your current suppliers, check your pricing and ask if they can provide a discount on bulk orders, and reach out to any potential suppliers you have your eye on.
4. Take a fresh look at your books
It’s essential that you’re across your business’s financial performance, even if you have an accountant or bookkeeper managing your accounts for you. Without a solid understanding of your past, present and predicted financial position, you can’t make informed decisions.
Whether you’re a start-up or an established business with decades of experience, knowing the numbers will allow you to improve your business’s performance, minimise your risk and plan for growth. At a minimum, you should regularly review your profit and loss statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. Most modern accounting software solutions make it really simple to prepare and review these important financial reports — and some even sync directly with Square to help save you time on the books.
4. Check your payments system is right for you
The payments landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years, and Australians are leading the way when it comes to adopting contactless payment. Two-thirds of us carry a contactless card, and more than half of the transactions we make under $100 are paid for using contactless technology.
If you’re still using the same payments system you were five years ago, it’s worth exploring whether there’s a better fit for your business. Consumers are increasingly opting to be cashless, and modern solutions provide great flexibility, security and portability – which is especially handy if you’re considering offering pop-up or event stalls during the warmer months.
6. Get into gift cards
Consumer group Choice estimates that Australians spend around $2.5 billion each year on gift cards. That’s a large pie that you’re not sharing a piece of if your business doesn’t offer them.
Many small business owners don’t realise that it’s actually very straightforward to add gift cards to the catalogue of products you sell. Today, payments system providers like Square make it easy to run a gift card program and enjoy the benefits they bring with zero hassle or extra admin. You can offer digital or plastic gift cards, and even add your branding to your gift cards for a truly customised user experience.
Adding gift cards is a great way to encourage your customers to introduce your business to their friends and family, expanding your reach and boosting your sales. With Square, gift cards are integrated into your dashboard – making them super simple to sell, track, redeem and reload.