WOW eNewsletter

Vol 4 Iss 2 Feb 2009

Quote of the Month

"A fool says, 'I can't'; a wise man says, 'I'll try.' "~ Unknown

Recession Is Good for Your Small Business!

Crazy, nuts, totally wacko you are probably thinking to yourself. How could she even begin to think that the current down turn could bring anything but harm to small business venture? All you have to do is look at the mega-stores that are being affected. Store closings listed in 2008 number nearly six-thousand according to RIS News. The International Council of Shopping Centers reports that in 2008 the closings are up 25% –5,770 in 2008 compared to a mere 4,603 in 2007. Surging gas prices, higher food costs and powerful inflationary forces are squeezing consumers and retailers alike.

Just look at the list:

84 Lumber Co. — 30 stores
Ann Taylor — 117 stores
Charming Shoppes (Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug) — 150 stores
Foot Locker — 140 stores
Macy's — 9 stores
Movie Gallery — 160 stores as part of reorganization plan to exit bankruptcy
Pacific Sunwear — 153 Demo stores
Pep Boys — 33 stores
Sprint Nextel —125 retail locations
Wilsons the Leather Experts — 158 stores
Zales — 100 stores

-J. C. Penney, Lowe’s and Office Depot are scaling back or delaying expansion. Office Depot had planned to open 150 stores this year, but will now open 75.

-CompUSA: All 103 stores will be sold or shut down. After being acquired by an investment firm, the company's business and assets are being sold. The retail stores that don't sell will be shut down.

-Levitz Furniture: The furniture retailer has liquidated its assets and closed all of its 76 stores.

-Bombay Company: The company unveiled plans to close all 384 U.S.-based Bombay Company stores. The company's online storefront has discontinued operations.

-Sharper Image: The company recently filed for bankruptcy protection and announced that 90 of its 184 stores are closing. The retailer will still operate 94 stores to pay off debts, but 90 of these stores have performed poorly and also may close.

-Charming Shoppes: The operator of Fashion Bug, Lane Bryant & Catherine's plans to close 150 underperforming stores, lay off 150 employees and reduce the amount of stores it will open in 2009.

-PacSun 'Demo' Stores: Pacific Sunwear will close its 154 Demo stores after a review of strategic alternatives for the urban-apparel brand. Seventy-four underperforming Demo stores closed last May.

-Talbot's Kids, Mens: The company reported that 78 stores will close after disappointing sales were reported for the children's and men's apparel stores.

-Ethan Allen Interiors: The company announced plans to close 12 of 300+ stores in an effort to cut costs.

- Movie Gallery-Stores: The video rental company plans to close 400 of 3,500 Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video stores in addition to the 520 locations the video rental chain closed last fall.

Other retailers facing closures include Rite Aid, Macy's, Sofa Express, Kirkland's, Sigrid Olsen (part of Liz Claiborne), Jasmine Sola and Rent-A-Center.

– According to Christina Zarrello of

So the question remains, if the big retailers are feeling the crunch how could this possibly bode well for the small business owner? The answer is simple! Customer service.

With all these customers looking for goods and services and no place to go why not gear up your marketing to attract them to your business? These customers will still need the items and services, that won’t change. With a little bit of careful planning you can secure a completely new group of customers you never could have reached before and therefore increase your customer base.

Here are some ideas that may help you see the light. People are not dining out as much. Why not offer them an alternative – provide low cost-easy to make meal planning services, inexpensive pack and go meals, packaged “You Make” dishes, side dishes and even desserts, alternative dietary choice coaching for those who wish to loose weight and keep it off.

Another thing people will always need is help. Whether it is in the area of financial planning or realizing that they are wasting valuable time trying to save a dollar here or there doing things they really would be better off delegating so they can focus more on what they do best, make the sale. Virtual Assistance now comes in many different forms. Web design, Marketing and Life Coaches, Multi-media providers, and a slew of other service professionals should be a cost-effective alternative.

Put your thinking cap on and I am certain you will find a way that you too can attract these floundering customers.

The tools you will need to succeed in capturing these wayward customers are a solid marketing plan and unsurpassed customer service skills. If you lack in even one of these areas you may be left in the dust with the big retailers.

Plan today and tomorrow you will succeed!

© Copyright 2009 Ginger Marks


Tip for Success

Make Friends

Marketing is all about making friends. Lots of friends! Make friends, sell more and have more fun!