Plan for the worst – and hope for the best

Johnson Reed
2m read

Anyone in business will probably tell you that they seem to be facing never ending uphill battles. Unless you’re one of those rare people born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you may well spend more of your time bemoaning all the bad luck, rather than rejoicing in the good luck that comes your way.

The retailing scene is being affected by all kinds of horror stories at the moment. First – the weather. We’ve just come through a very cold snap, and there’s another one forecast for the end of this gloomy month of February. The days may be getting slightly longer, but we’re still very much in the throes of winter. Bad weather can cause all kinds of havoc. Staff can’t get to work; freezing weather causes burst pipes and damage to properties; genuine illness, as well as people throwing sickies on Monday morning, can cause metaphoric headaches; and your delivery schedules could well be disrupted. Insurance is the answer. Try and give yourself some damage limitation cover for peace of mind.

Even when you survive the cold spells, it’s still not plain sailing. And it seems that the bigger boys in the retail world are particularly suffering. 2012 saw an unprecedented string of high street failures, for which a record-breaking 24-hour period of online sales must have been partly to blame. It’s just another symptom of the trend for online shopping, rather than bricks-and-mortar shopping, taking precedent. An amazing 113 million visits were made to retail websites on 26 December alone, with online sales during that month rising by 17.8 per cent over 2011.

The British Retail Consortium director-general, Helen Dickinson, commented on the Christmas period: “Online was the stand-out performer, showing its highest rate of growth this year. Shoppers are increasingly taking advantage of the convenience that online shopping offers at every stage of the customer journey, from comparing prices to reserving and collecting in-store.”

And therein lies the moral of the story. There are simply too many stores out there. If you want to stay ahead in 2013, during which time there’s probably going to be even more competition for your business, make sure you seek out some sound financial partners. Don’t rely on the banks for loans – they’re far too cumbersome and slow. After all, the speed with which you and your equipment suppliers reach decisions could mean the difference between success and failure. The collective experience of Johnson Reed for loan finance is worth investigating.

Finally, why not start your own online venture? Get a website going, and do it properly. That could be the subject of another one of our news items in due course. Keep your eyes peeled.