It's often been said you can't build a long term future on short term thinking. Over many years involved with garden centres we have noticed two common but serious management flaws in a number of them who come to us for help and advice.
First is a clear reluctance to measure key performance indicators. This is a starting point for managing a successful business and unfortunately most don't realise how beneficial it is until they begin.
Second, is a focus on short term thinking and planning. Too many garden centres have no long term strategy, no point of difference of consequence, no product development plan and certainly no clear growth strategy or plan of how to achieve it for the next five to ten years.
If you are serious about building a successful, easy to operate business; that provides a return of at least 25%pa on the investment (after your salary) and that will have a good value when you exit for retirement; then long term thinking with proactive implementation is essential.
Activities which consist predominantly of known value products, regular discounted specials, competitions, bribes and celebrity events are expensive providing short term sales benefits. This strategy becomes a treadmill because if these activities decrease or cease, sales will stagnate or fall.
A sound long term growth strategy with substantial points of difference based on customer benefits, well implemented, will see ongoing increases in customer numbers. There will be no need for short term activities involving expensive aggressive pricing and advertising. A business with substantial, tangible, unique customer benefits becomes the natural first choice for customers.
Obviously a well-structured loyalty programme and regular communication along with good customer service will build a relationship around the unique points of difference. The points of difference will be many, covering such things as location, premises, layout, presentation, signage, services, information, and product.
With the industry dominated by large box stores it has never been easier to embark on long term thinking.
Read more here about taking time out to think and plan and the importance of long term strategies