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Yes, I AM definitely talking TO YOU.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I AM definitely talking TO YOU.

When I see clients and readers of my magazine articles, blog, email news, and other printed words people often tell me that what I write makes them feel like I’m talking directly to them. I hope that is true for you. If it is you’re right.

No, YOU may not actually be THE client I’m talking about in any specific article or discussion, but believe it or not, all the mistakes you have made have most likely been made by others before you.I write to the situations I see other clients get into that I wish for you to avoid or take supreme advantage of, depending on the situation. Continue reading

Don’t Follow Them, They’re Lost Too

  

 Don't follow me, I'm lost too!

Don't follow me, I'm lost too!

 

“Don’t follow me, I’m lost too.” 

It’s more than a bumper sticker. But not everyone who doesn’t know where they are going wears this bumper sticker. Think about it. 

We tend to assume that the ideas and trends others are following are the right direction. They and their ideas are talked about in the media, at conferences, and by salespeople who sell the stuff they sell. Sometimes those folks are just doing something they didn’t really think about, or that makes no good sense, financially or otherwise. But it is something different to talk about, write about, and follow. Continue reading

Do You Have Zombie Defenders?

Read time: Approximately 3 minutes

Defense Against Zombieconomy

Defense Against Zombieconomy

Your best defense is a great offense.

Not long ago I wrote posts on the Horticulture Zombieconomy, Zombie Stores and Zombie Departments, and Horti-Zombies Come Alive! Next thing you know, during The Garden Center Group‘s Fall Event awards cruise Robert Hendrickson presented me with the NY Times bestselling book, The Zombie Survival Guide – Complete Protection from the Living Dead.

The book is a sort of spoof (so excuse and think through the metaphor) on How-To survive the complacency and fearless tactics of Zombies to recruit others to join the living dead who are constantly yet un-remarkedly at work among us. Continue reading

Open Letter to Independent Garden Centers

Read Time: Approximately 5 minutes text, 15 minutes with links and video.

Friends,

Independent garden centers are my future. I am a fortunate person to love what I do and do what I love. I sincerely want that to continue, and I realize it is entirely dependent on the success of my clients.

Today I feel compelled to share with you some information you would probably rather not hear or would rather not consider. Sticking your head in the sand is a possible reaction to this.

Consider carefully how you choose to respond. This could be a decision that changes the course of your business and your life completely within a very few short months.

Is the sky falling? No, it definitely is not, however, just because the sky is staying where it is does not excuse us from examining other things that may be falling. Continue reading

Zombie Stores and Zombie Departments

Death Spiral Economic conditions have caused many retailers (garden centers included) to reduce inventories. Whether they decided to reduce redundancy and confusion in their merchandise mix, or were simply over-buying and had too much inventory at the wrong time in the wrong amount, the net effect is less inventory on hand. Some retailers handle adjustment to reduced inventory better than others. This falls in line with my previous post on the Horticulture Zombieconomy, but takes it straight to the sales floor where the customer is involved directly.  Ted Hulbut suggests that retailers who aggressively reduce inventory may become Zombie Stores and Zombie Departments, but do they have an alternative?

What will happen when retailers adjust inventory to reduce unproductive items and to match customer traffic and sales levels? Continue reading

What Would Happen If You Could . . .

High Average Sale 2008 The Garden Center Group

What does it take to get the dramatically higher average transactions shown by the green line on this chart from The Garden Center Group ?

What would happen if you could increase your average transaction dramatically THIS year?

To find out what would happen do the Merchan+ Ma+h

Continue reading

Hoping for a Rising Average?

Boiling The Frog

Boiling The Frog,
originally uploaded by purpleslog.

Still Comfortable?

Like frogs in a pan of water with the temperature rising, our comfort with increasing sales revenue from an increase in average transaction dollars is not feeling so comfortable in recent years. Here’s why:

Continue reading

We will never have enough staff, until we…

The amount of money available to pay wages & wage benefits is in direct proportion to your level of sales volume. The fact is, “We will never have enough staff, until we sell enough stuff.”

“Don’t tell the marketing people I said this but, sales is a subset of marketing” said Dave Mulbarger, VP of Sales and my former boss of years ago. We too often take on the attitude that lack of sales is a marketing problem rather than a selling problem and vice-versa. The reality is that both do carry responsibility, and the greater of that responsibility lies with the marketing function since sales is a subset of marketing. However, accepting responsibility and placing blame correctly does not solve our problem. What we need is a strategy to apply to sell enough stuff.

Continue reading

Winning “People Strategies” Critical to Business Success (Part 1)

kevin-stinson-100x100-low-res

Guest Blogger

Kevin Stinson, CEO, The Stinson Group, Inc.

A great business plan is just that. A great business plan. Well documented and outlined strategies, functional and easy to follow formulas, processes that are understandable and usable, and accurate market data are all critical ingredients in the recipe for a strong and profitable business. We all have been involved in companies where one or more of the key factors have been ignored or unattended to. Working in theses situations becomes burdensome, heavy with task orientated activities, all aimed at trying to “get back in the game”. We have also seen and been involved in organizations where all of the above are in good working order. But even in this scenario, the business is not firing on all eight cylinders. The results are not there from month to month, the general atmosphere within the ranks is one of discontent and there seems to be a consensus of “disassociation” among the employees. Why?

Continue reading

Happy New Year! Wacha gonna do about it?

This is an anonymous poll. Results can be seen at the link to the left of the vote button. Be sure to check back in a few days after others have had a chance to respond.

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