Planning for New Store Launches
Updated: Dec 14, 2018
Hi - Top tip for retailers today. I recently did a trip to Kilimanjaro. And the thing that nobody talks about, for people that climb Kilimanjaro - the thing that nobody talks about, is - when you get to the very top - you're exhausted, you're delighted. In my case, I was weeping. I had finally got to the top. It was two minutes past 6 in the morning on the 29th when we reach the summit and Uhuru peak. And what I hadn't factored mentally - was that after those few minutes at the very cold, very beautiful top - watching the sunrise, I then had several hours of a climb down, that was going to be just as hard (actually it was harder), in order to be able to rest. And I really hadn't taken that into account. And for me, on that trip - that was the toughest thing.
Now - How does that relate to retail you might ask? Well when I think about retail and I think about retail planning - particularly for big business actually and multiples that are opening new stores - because they are still multiples out there - I know we're all talking apocalypse and that everything's closing - but there are businesses out there that are expanding and opening new stores. And quite often , a really big mistake that is made, is that there is huge planning that goes into opening a new store - from hiring a team, to deciding the stock package, to looking at a marketing plan thats right for that particular market.
Huge work goes into preparing to open a new store. Quite often thats where the planning stops though. The store opens. Everyone goes away and suddenly the team is left there, and eventually the honeymoon is over. And the stock package is not as good and not as profiled, and the marketing dries up etc etc.
So there are some similarities there - that everybody thinks the end goal is getting that store open. And from a project management point of view, quite often it is. When in fact thats actually only Chapter one of the story, and really the planning needs to continue, for at least the next 6-12 months- from a point of view of stock package review, market review, what do you do when the fuss dies down? How do you support the team when the fuss dies down? How do you make sure that you retain the team, when you've invested so much time recruiting them and training them?
So tip today - Is to think longer term and a little bit more strategically with planning. If you're opening a new store or expanding a new store. Or if you're a regional manager and you're planning a new store opening - Dont think of the opening as being the thing that you're aiming for. Year One anniversary is the thing that you're aiming for.
So just take that planning a little bit further - and plan in some really key milestones around review of stock package, review of market, review of 'is the customer who you thought the customer would be'- because thats a really important one. And a review of how it's going . Six weeks after opening your doors- you need to do that. Twelve weeks after opening your doors you need to do that. So that is my top tip for today. New Store openings - keep the planning going. Planning does not stop when the balloons pop and the ribbon is cut. That's actually where the hard work really begins. And quite often we forget that. Just like me- Top of Kilimanjaro - hadn't factored that 'Oh- my G-d, I'm going to have to turn around and climb back down again.' And believe me- that was the bit I ended up finding hardest!
Hope you have a great day.Hope you find this useful.