We often think that our store, the physical space, or the merchandise generates revenue. But if we dig a little deeper, our BRAIN creates revenue. 

Businesses solve problems for their customers. It can be challenging for store owners to see their business this way because we tell ourselves that shopping is just a luxury. Or, we believe that because we aren’t solving big, world-changing problems, the problems we do solve don’t really matter.

How We Solve Problems for Our Customers

But we DO solve problems, and those problems matter to our customers! For example, here are some of the local retailers I shop with and the problems they solve:

  • Second Sole provides a super-fast service. They help me find shoes that fit my feet perfectly, taking into account size, arch, and walking/running style. I walk out with sneakers that give me the BEST support when I walk or jog in just 15 minutes! This is a service and talent that Dick’s Sporting Goods just can’t give me—and that’s why I keep returning to Second Sole again and again.
  • Wine Down & Sweets Cafe has homemade sweets at a reasonable price AND a cool little wine spot to hang out with friends!
  • Revival Body Care’s owner Nicole provides me with all-natural skincare, lessons, information, and the ease of shopping online with pickup or in her visually appealing store. She’s crafted such a lovely experience for her customers.
  • Stem Soap has lovely products made by Steve and his partner, such as an incredible hand soap that even my brother loves AND a naked soap option for my mom, who has allergies.
  • Metheny Weir or Antica Modern could be considered competitors to our store, The Salvaged Boutique. However, they provide me with the occasional product we don’t sell but need for furniture projects and the biggest and best hugs!
  • Little Spark Refill Shop helps me do my little part in saving the Earth from more plastic. I buy lots of refills for personal care and home cleaning from Rachel, including the BEST countertop cleaner I have ever smelled.
  • Blossom Cleveland’s owner Megan provides me with unique and spectacular flower arrangements that are NOT from a franchise florist + delivery!
  • Cleveland Curiosities is the perfect place to shop for my nephew. I know he’ll love whatever gift I choose there! Plus, Clem and Hallie provide their customers with a one-of-a-kind experience at their store.
  • Moonstruck CLE’s owner, Elisa, teaches me so much about vintage on her lives! I love finding unique gifts for friends and treasures for myself at her store.

When you realize your Sales Per Square Foot (SPSF) is determined by YOUR BRAIN, you’ll start to think differently about your business and how you use the square footage in your store. 

If you want a larger SPSF, have your brain do the work. Ask yourself, “What can YOU do to offer more value in your brick & mortar space?”

Ask Your Customers What They Want

In my own business, both my sister and I try to listen. We listen to our customers, and we listen to our data. 

We make hard decisions every year about our business and take the data and customer feedback into account. Sometimes that means adding something, but often it has meant cutting things so we can go bigger with what IS working! For example:

  • We cut our hours and increased our energy.
  • We changed from nursery decor to baby gifts.
  • We cut workshops and custom services to focus on higher-margin products, like the furniture WE refurbish and sell.
  • We doubled, then tripled our market budget because our customers loved the new decor and gift items we brought.

What we want and what our customers want haven’t always aligned. But in most cases, we put our emotions aside and ask ourselves, “how can we provide VALUE to them?”

Here is a little disclaimer on customer feedback and surveys: not every piece of feedback will make sense for you to implement. Take your customers’ wishes into account and balance them against what makes financial sense for your business.

Case Study: From 80K to 500K in Revenue

In Master Shopkeepers, a member had a very small retail business (making less than $80k/year) when she joined. She was very dedicated to her original store concept and type, but she was struggling.

After joining Master Shopkeepers, she started to take a look around at her community. She considered what was missing and what people were wanting. Then, she began to fill the gap. She’s expanded what she does, what products she sells, and has gotten really creative with her business! Now, her store makes a half-million in revenue each year and is still growing.

She created this massive growth because she tapped into her BRAIN.

So ask yourself, how can you provide VALUE to your customers? Then let your brain do the work of finding new ways you can serve your customers and grow your business.



  • [03:56] How We Solve Problems for Our Customers
  • [14:32] Ask Your Customers What They Want
  • [17:01] Case Study: From 80K to 500K in Revenue

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