Being small does have advantages. You can move fast, shoot from the hip and get stuff done that would take others months to plan by committee. On the negative side, small means you’re chronically under-resourced, both financially and in terms of human talent.
There’s only so much expansion you can achieve on a shoestring, and when you’re small, that’s all you have in the spreadsheet under marketing activity. Nick Santora knows, “It’s tough for independents to have a real marketing budget. Blogging should only be 10% of the plan.” Unfortunately, blogging has been 90% of the plan for many stores. Clearly, it has not been enough to just open the doors and let the cash roll in.
It is also possible that many stores have realised that instead of being cocooned from the bigger picture, they are just as affected by external forces such as mortgage rates and the dire job market.
Volatile currency fluctuations are another huge wildcard. While prices in the US are usually half what they are in other countries, the weak English pound and US dollar have distorted the playing field to create both winners and losers.
Phil from the successful Laced store in Brisbane is all too aware how cheap it is to shop online in the US, at a time when the Aussie dollar is virtually equal to the Greenback. “Our customers know what they want and you can’t blame them for doing what they do. The more people getting into the culture, the better, but at the same time, people need to realise that showing support for their local stores will establish the scene in your city.”
A noble wish for sure, but not many kids are prepared to pay extra just to keep food on someone else’s table.
Check out our next feature: HOW TO LACE YOUR SNEAKERS!