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Business Planning – Get on the Front Foot

Charles Hartley, Foremost Business Development Consultant, North and Midlands, talks about planning ahead for a strong start to 2023.

With the recent jump in golf participation across the UK, it’s been difficult for many PGA Professionals to get on the front foot so they can plan for 2023. This winter don’t just work in your business, work on your business! Book weekly time in the diary to look at the following key areas:

Your Online and In-store Appearance
The winter offers a great opportunity to review your business visuals. Firstly, look at your shop and studio. Are there areas that need tidying up? Would fresh paint on the walls make a difference? Take down any out-of-date or tired looking signage. First impressions count for everything. What do your shop and facilities say about you? Now let’s look online, have you ever searched on Google for ‘golf shops near me’ or ‘golf lessons’? What businesses come up and where do you rank? Google always produces a result generated by Google Maps. This is helping first time customers find local businesses. Make sure your location pin is set in the correct place, opening times are listed, your website address is shown and then simply encourage customers to leave positive reviews. It's a great time to update your website, much of the content will not need to change but do up to date imagery. Pictures of the shop can be easily identified as ‘old’ by golfers. Modern, sharp, and concise websites work best. Does your website cover the key areas of your business? Have you made it easy to book? Online booking is essential in today’s digital age. Not only are you making that first step for a first customer much easier, but you are also levelling up the service you provide your current cliental with booking confirmations and reminders. It’s also a very effective way of growing your email address database.

Make sure your website is regularly updated, showcasing your key facilities and offeringMake sure your website is regularly updated, showcasing your key facilities and offering

Marketing Calendar
Although we all enjoy guaranteed footfall in our pro shops, this footfall is often just there to play golf, not to shop. By planning retail events, the customers that attend are in ‘shopping mode’, they know they are going to spend money. Can you diarise at least twelve retail events in 2023? Your retail events will only be as successful as the marketing you put in. Buy a large yearly wall planner. Locate the planner somewhere all staff can see it. Start to populate the planner with all your retail events, major golfing competitions and important club days. Now try to build a simple marketing plan for each event. You have a host of tools including newsletters, specials mails and social media to get your message across. Try to gauge feedback from your customers after each event so you can make improvements for the following year.

An effective Marketing Plan will provide structure and directionAn effective Marketing Plan will provide structure and direction

Buying Plan
The only way to buy more effectively is to assess your current sales data. Do you know exactly how many dozen balls you sold last year? How many medium gloves do you sell compared to large? Put in the time to prepare for your buying meeting with your supplies – it could save you significant money compared to the small outlay in time. If you are in a retail & marketing group like Foremost you will have access to ‘stock planning software and programmes’ that will help you get the right balance in your buying and forecasting for the coming year. It is also worthwhile to take advice from your Business Development Consultant to ensure you strike the right balance. Selecting more buying group exclusive line products and having a budget for clearance deals will also help improve gross margin in 2023.

Staff development and training is an essential part of any successful businessStaff development and training is an essential part of any successful business

The Team
Your team should be your biggest asset. Winter months are a great time to train your staff, but you should also be analysing their personal skill sets. For example, social media might not be your thing but perhaps it is something that comes more naturally to your assistants. You must make sure you are having regular team meetings, appraising them every 6 months, praising and rewarding them for jobs well done and make them feel empowered and proud to be part of the team. Making sure you invest in your staff is not just vital for your bottom line, but also your work / life balance.

For more information on how Foremost can assist you and your business in 2022 simply email or call 01753 218 890

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