Dear Aunty B,
My owner told us she’s going out of business and will begin selling out this weekend. It is a craft store, and I’ve been there 12 years.
I honestly believe that poor management on her side (not paying bills timely, rude to customers etc) caused this, along with bringing in giftware and ignoring the crafts.
We have a custom framing shop along with fabric, which are great sellers; only one other place sells fabrics in a 15 kilometre radius.
Our customers are great but hate her, so they avoid the store. I know this as they tell me she’s a bitch. There is so much I’d change – I could bring them back, I know it.
I would love to take over. She’s not even suggested it, nor do I have finances to “buy her out” with today’s lending problems. I know I would be successful by going back to the basics. Any thoughts?
Lacking money has never stopped true entrepreneurs, otherwise none of us would be here! Look, the key to success lies in protecting the customers from the maltreatment and offering suppliers the security of superior service.
Here are three ideas:
First, she can’t read your mind. Tell her you are interested in taking over. Offer to become the woman’s business development officer and build up a contact list of her suppliers and key customers in an effort to achieve the full potential of the business with an option to buy the business over time (with vendor finance based on your success in building the business).
Wait until she vacates the business when it ultimately collapses around her. Is she going to try to sell the business? If so, introduce yourself to the new owners. You can then heavily promote the “under new management” theme in local press and handbills etc along with your products and services.
Set yourself up a website with search engine capabilities ASAP. Produce a pamphlet that gets people to contact you directly via your website and promote this in the local community. Talk to local shop keepers about leasing you space and set up your own business. Maybe a supplier might like to take equity in your new business and give you a head start.
And you are absolutely right. You will be successful going back to basics. But make sure you really are familiar with the cost base and why your boss went into giftware in the first place.
Your Aunty B.