Running a boutique is rewarding, but it can also be a major source of stress for many people. There are so many things that can affect the success of your business, that it’s important to make sure you prevent as many problems as possible before they happen. When the economy takes a downturn, small business owners are the first to feel it. Shipping costs can increase, inventories can dwindle, loans can be difficult to get, and people just aren’t spending money like they used to. All of these things may feel like they’re out of your control, but there are ways to help steady your business so that these things don’t put you under.
One of the major things you should do is prevent theft. If you can closely manage your budget so that you at least have the inventory on hand that you’ve paid for, then you can avoid the pitfall of unexpected inventory costs sneaking up on you at a bad time. Theft is one of the biggest complaints of boutique owners because it’s almost impossible to plan for and it can make it nearly impossible to get back on your feet after it happens.
Sadly, most theft happens internally. Because boutiques are small, don’t have many employees, and generally can’t afford a surveillance system, employees feel too safe and can end up stealing from the company. In fact, employee theft accounts for three times the loss of shopper theft. You can help by eliminating temptations. You can offer quarterly bonuses to your managers for loss amounts below the norm. Show all of your employees respect and pay them enough that they care a lot about keeping their jobs. Employees that respect you and that feel respected are less likely to steal.
You can also install dummy surveillance systems so that it appears to employees that they are being recorded. This doesn’t cost much and can save you from going out of business. You can also use locking glass display cases for high dollar or especially tempting items. Employees can be responsible for inventory counts of certain items at the beginning and end of each shift. This way, each employee is responsible for what happens while they are the ones holding the key.
To prevent theft by shoppers, try not to overcrowd your clothing racks. Clothes crammed on a garment rack give shoppers cover for slipping things into their clothing or bags. You can use slatwall to keep things spread out and on the walls. This will give you better visuals throughout your store and keep yourgarment racks lighter and further apart.
Making these few changes can help you to better control some of the factors of retail failure. Stay diligent and you’ll be better able to manage the fluctuations that come with running your own boutique.
About the Author: John Garvey is on the staff of Only Garment Racks, a leading online source of garment racks including clothing racks. Find a high quality garment rack or clothing rack at http://www.onlygarmentracks.com.