It’s a tale as old as time. I was playing in a competition last week with a friend who still plays off his old handicap of 9. After a round of grunting and moaning he put his poor performance down to a bad day at the office.
In reality, he could have enjoyed a fun day of golf with a more realistic 16 handicap but pride got in the way. If only my friend would accept that his game isn’t as good as he thinks it is.
It’s a human trait that pervades all aspects of life but when it comes to retail, ignoring the facts and figures of your shop business will have expensive consequences. How many times have you tried to convince yourself that the pro shop is doing well when you don’t actually know for sure? The truth is, it’s easier to bury your head in the sand than get to grips with last years’ sales reports when you’ve already placed your orders for next year.
There are common reasons for this inertia. Many golf retailers I’ve worked with didn’t know where to start. They’d also tell themselves that they had more important things going on and were simply too busy to spend time in the office.
Grab some inspiration from Mark Twain’s “Eat the frog” quote. It’s a memorable metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of the day (and thankfully nothing to do with ingesting amphibians). “If the first thing you do in the morning is to eat the frog, then you can continue your day with the satisfaction of knowing that this is probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day”.
The Most Important Frog
Bill Gates recommends entrepreneurs to do this:
- Identify your frog, namely the most important task of the day
- Eat your frog. Do the most important task of the day
- Repeat every day
This may seem easy enough but identifying your most important frog is actually the tricky bit. It’s human nature to focus on the tasks we enjoy and, although this isn’t a bad thing, the danger is that golf retailers will end up with such a heavy focus on lessons, for example, and planning and budgeting get pushed aside.
Budget for Change
Let’s make a change for 2022. Why not try something new and grab your biggest frog by the horns? It’s only by making changes to the business that you’ll ultimately reach your goals, such as freeing up time for golf and family.
If the business started to make more money, you could take on an extra member of staff and spend more time away from the shop yourself. Set a goal and work backwards. How are you going to get to where you want to be?
Incredibly only around 25% of golf retailers work to an annual budget and yet this really is something that will help propel you to achieve your goals. What’s more, putting a budget together doesn’t need to be time-consuming. If you don’t know where to start, keep it simple at first.
Begin with a review of last year. If you’re an XPOS user, run off your Sales Analysis by Comparison report and compare one period of time against another. Look at what you sold each month and aim to improve by 5% margin this year.
So, you want to play more golf?
Whatever your goals, you’ll need the involvement of the whole team to make them a reality, and when you’re thinking about the next 12 months, it’s the perfect time to bring everyone together.
Brainstorm ideas such as promotions, marketing, investment of new tech, merchandising displays, sales … Is the team confident to talk about the technical benefits of the latest range of fairway woods? Does your staff need more training? Can you assign new responsibilities? Do you have a member of staff who’s a whizz on social media, or can manage the YouTube channel?
Ensure that everyone understands their role within the business so that if a particular product range doesn’t sell well, or there are significant stock shortages, it’ll be far easier to make changes and get the business back on course.
It’s a lot to think about but with a plan in place, you’ll be able to relax more. That’s a promise.
The Retailer: Michael Kanev, Kingsknowe Golf Club, Edinburgh
In my first year of business, I didn’t consciously make a budget. Since then, I’ve worked closely with my buying group and do now make a plan for the year. My main aim is not to overorder as I don’t want to be left with stock at the end of the season. I prefer to take a cautious approach.
In 2021, I ordered 20% more stock than 2020 and sold most of that. This year, I’m looking to add another 20% so the shop will look fuller. This is my biggest risk so far but I believe we’ll have a full year of trading. I’ll be keeping an eye on my XPOS reports each month and working with the team to make sure we’re beating last years’ sales.
Ultimately, I’d like to play more golf and spend more time with my family. Last summer, I worked long hours to put money aside for staffing. Having more personal time frees you up to think about the business.
The Expert: Phil Barnard
Every business has to plan and golf is no exception. Retailers will have a better year if they plan and buy accordingly. It’s too late to wait until the end of the season to order stock.
During 2022 stock will still be an issue. If retailers think there’s going to be another boom this year and buy stock accordingly, my fear is that we’ll have a lot of excess stock in the market place if there is, in fact, a lack of demand.
We’ve come a long way over the last few years. Margins are better and customers are paying fair prices. What we don’t want is a surplus of stock in 2022 which will bring prices spiralling down.
This year I’m hoping retailers have been realistic and can cope with the stock they have ordered. Sometimes having too little is better and planning is absolutely key.
Communicate regularly with your shop customers and make sure they’re aware of what you have in stock. Use the XPOS Caddie app to send instant SMS messages when new stock lands in store and remind users to the reserve items they want and ensure they don’t miss out.