Ep. 213 What’s Possible In Independent Retail

As indie retail store owners, it’s all too easy to focus on the negative. We’re always thinking about which stores are closing, what’s to blame for industry-wide difficulties, and how each new hurdle might lead to our store failing. 

And while our glass-half-empty view isn’t surprising (we’re only human, after all!), we can and SHOULD try to change our mindset. Celebrating our successes gives us proof that we can accomplish even bigger goals in the future. 

It can be hard to celebrate our accomplishments though, especially when we’re stuck in a negative mindset. That’s why I’m sharing some examples of what’s possible in independent retail today! 

Keep reading for success stories and wins from the Savvy Shopkeeper community—and teach your brain that you can do that, too


what's possible in indie retail

Why I’m Sharing Indie Retail Success Stories Right Now

Recently, I was laid up in bed with a cold/flu. And when I’m sick, everything feels awful. Not only do I feel terrible, but my business and my mindset suffer, too.

The antidote to feeling awful, though, is finding some small way to feel good. One way I do this is by thinking about the store owners in my community who are profiting AND paying themselves because that’s my whole goal with Savvy Shopkeeper. I’m here to help store owners work smarter, profit more, and grow. 

In my 2024 Savvy Shopkeeper Survey, I asked if there was anything else that would be helpful to hear on the podcast and one survey taker essentially said, “Can you share the success stories?”  And YES, yes I can! 

Between my flu and this survey suggestion, now is the perfect time to share success stories and wins from the Savvy Shopkeeper community.  

I want you to see what’s possible in retail. 

This Store Owner Paid Off Tens of Thousands of Debt and Made a Healthy Profit Last Year

A former 1:1 coaching client and current Master Shopkeepers member recently emailed me to share the following: 

“Thanks to your input and me actually implementing it, my little 710 square foot store generated over $250,000 in 2023 with a $23,000 profit, this despite paying back the tens of thousands of dollars of debt left after I closed my second store on Oct. 1 last year.”

Wow! What an accomplishment for this shopkeeper. 

Indie Retailers Are Working Smarter, Profiting More, And Even Paying Themselves

I share a lot on the podcast about the nitty gritty how-tos of running a retail store, such as getting more foot traffic, turning over dead inventory, and managing your expenses

Sometimes, though, it’s important to just look at the big picture and see what’s possible for the key numbers in a retail business: revenue, profit margin, owner’s pay, and net profit. 

I recently shared the following store owner stats in Master Shopkeepers. And yes, these are real store owners’ numbers! 

Store Owner One
Revenue $1.2 Million
Profit Margin 62%
Owner’s Pay: 6 figures
Net Profit: $132k

Store Owner Two
Revenue: $500k
Profit Margin: 63%
Owner’s Pay: $80k
Net Profit: $56k (yes, above owner’s pay)

Store Owner Three
Revenue $400k
Profit Margin: 50%
Owner’s Pay/Net Profit: $60k

Store Owner Four
Revenue $135k
Profit Margin: 55%
Owner’s Pay $36k

This next one is something I shared on Facebook and Instagram, too. It’s a real, existing store owner and Master Shopkeepers member. 

Store Owner Five
Revenue: $700K
Square Footage: 700 
Profitable and Owner’s Pay: YES

Yes, you read that correctly: this retailer has a sales per square foot of $1000!

When I posted the above stats, it was fascinating to see how other store owners reacted. 

Some asked, “Is this a higher-end store?” They believed that to earn that much revenue and pay themselves that much, they would have to have a high-end jewelry or furniture store.

However, none of the above examples are from high-end stores. They’re all from different business models and niches. These numbers represent a variety of store types that range from vendor stores, to gift and novelty stores with an average order value of less than $30, to traditional apparel stores and home decor stores.

what's possible in indie retail

Knowing What’s Possible Helps You Think Differently

So why do we assume that these must be higher-end stores with a special business model, niche, or both? 

Because we doubt that this could be us! 

It’s common for retailers to think there’s ONE unicorn business model or type, and they just haven’t found it yet. The truth is, any independent retail store can achieve results like the above. And there are strategies you can learn to turn YOUR business into an example of “what’s possible in retail.”

For example, I recently posted a graphic on social media that said, “If your pricing strategy is 2x, you’re in trouble.”

This post triggered A BIG reaction, receiving the most comments I’ve seen on a post, and some of the longest comments, too. 

Of course, there will be a percentage of businesses that do work with this pricing strategy especially if they are savvy about their expenses. But most brick and mortar retailers won’t survive with this pricing policy. 

I want these conversations to get you thinking differently, even if they challenge what you believe to be true. Thinking in a new way is a catalyst for growth that can change the entire journey of your retail business.

 How 1:1 Coaching Can Change Your Mindset and Help You Become an Example of What’s Possible in Indie Retail

Now that I’ve gone all in on Savvy Shopkeeper, I’ve opened up time on my calendar and bandwidth in my brain. I’ve gained a lot of clarity on how I can best serve indie retailers. And I’m leaning into helping store owners with the three areas that are the most challenging for them: mindset, financials, and systems.

With a more open calendar, I’m able to offer my one-on-one coaching services again! I’ve got several packages available that meet retailers like you exactly where you’re at.

One package I’d like to highlight is the Retail Profit Program. This is an 8-week program where we’ll meet on Zoom every other week for 50 minutes at a time. 

We’ll build a customized retail dashboard in Google Sheets for you and your store, and I’ll use your data to educate you on what’s happening in your business! You’ll learn where you’re struggling, what is and isn’t working, what is profitable, and more. 

An important note: to sign up for the Retail Profit Program with me, you must have accurate bookkeeping and financial reports (both a P&L and a balance sheet), as well as an inventory system that tracks all of your items and the cost of each item. And of course, you’ve got to be willing to share it all with me—the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

So if you…

  • Feel stuck
  • Are avoiding what’s happening in your business
  • Have your blinders on to keep yourself comfortable

…you can change. And if you want some guidance along the way, I’d be honored to work with you as your retail coach.

Running a Profitable Retail Business? That’s Possible for You.

I hope this post has shown you that it isn’t all doom and gloom out there!

Running a retail business isn’t all roses, of course. I know that for each of the store owner stats I shared today, those store owners have hard days and often work through mindset challenges of their own. 

However, their challenges are what made them stronger entrepreneurs! Their willingness to test, make changes, take risks, fail, keep trying, become better leaders, and be uncomfortable all led to their growth and success.

Am I saying it’s easy? Maybe, maybe not. You get to decide that. 

But running a profitable retail business that compensates you for your time and effort? That is 100% possible for you in indie retail. 

Resources

Timestamps

  • [02:08] Why I’m Sharing Indie Retail Success Stories Right Now
  • [04:04] This Store Owner Paid Off Tens of Thousands of Debt and Made a Healthy Profit Last Year
  • [04:59] Indie Retailers Are Working Smarter, Profiting More, and Even Paying Themselves
  • [09:04] Knowing What’s Possible Helps You Think Differently
  • [12:43] How 1:1 Coaching Can Change Your Mindset and Help You Become an Example of What’s Possible in Indie Retail
  • [17:12] Running a Profitable Retail Business? That’s Possible for You. 

Connect With Kathy

Kathy Cruz is an Independent Retail Coach who helps store owners work smarter, profit more, and grow their brick and mortar businesses. 

Connect with Kathy and learn more here:

Website: www.savvyshopkeeper.com 
Instagram: @savvyshopkeeper
Mastermind Group: Master Shopkeepers

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