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10 Retail Lessons From Great Recipes for Your Business

On the surface, you might not think great recipes can teach you much about how to run your independent home improvement business. In fact, your family’s cherished recipes provide fantastic insights into the finer points of retail excellence. Review these 10 retail lessons you can learn from great recipes here. Subscribe to Hardware Retailing and learn more about the North American Retail Hardware Association for more resources to add flavor to your business.

1. Source the finest ingredients.
Whether you’re following a new recipe or staying successful in home improvement retail, finding the best ingredients is essential. From choosing locally grown greens to recruiting hardworking home improvement innovators, your recipe is only as good as what you put in it. Check out this retail lesson on the importance of hiring qualified candidates.

2. Preheat your oven.
Carefully following the ingredients list is nothing if you’re not prepared for success. For recipes, be sure your oven is preheated, ready to bring your ingredients to joyful harmony with heat. As for your operation, you can preheat your oven by doing research into the people who call your community home and how your business can best serve their needs. Rely on your wholesaler, fellow small business owners and your friends and family to understand how your operation can best serve the region it calls home.

3. Rely on your kitchen.
Every great chef has a team of sous chefs supporting them. Independent home improvement operators are no different. Don’t be afraid to delegate responsibility throughout your team. By trusting your employees with more responsibility, you’ll motivate them to invest in the operation and see it as a long-term, stable career. Explore the power of teamwork.

4. Practice, practice, practice.
No chef has mastered a souffle on their first try. Similarly, all retailers go through a learning curve. But don’t let minor setbacks kill your spirit or your drive to succeed. By constantly challenging yourself to host more in-store events, find new ways to make the best customer appreciation day ever or by thinking strategically to add hot products to your inventory, your mind will always be focused on retail success. Subscribe to NRHA’s regular products showcase Hot Products Hub today.

5. Follow tried-and-true recipes…
There’s no one set road to retail success, but there are many trusty paths. Keep your eyes peeled to each monthly issue of Hardware Retailing. Follow the magazine on social media for more insights into retailers who are finding new ways to grow their business and their community standing.

6. …but don’t be afraid to add your own spice.
You may have grown up cooking a certain cuisine, or tested your retail mettle by following a strict set of time-tested guidelines for your operation. Don’t be afraid to try something new! Venturing out of your comfort zone is extremely important in retail. Learn about product trade shows from across the country that can help you find new inventory to stock.

7. Multitask like a master chef.
Great chefs are always thinking two or three steps ahead. While they’re stirring the perfect sauce, their main dish has been marinating for hours and their dessert has been cooling by the windowsill. Great retailers are no different. When you’re facing a time-consuming task, tune into one of Hardware Retailing‘s two podcasts to learn more about the industry. Join Dan Tratensek as he sits down with industry experts, wholesaler executives and more movers and shakers on “Taking Care of Business.” NRHA retail outreach coordinator Renee Changnon shares the stories of progressive retailers in “Tell Me More…” Subscribe to both podcasts and stream existing episodes now.

8. Be generous with your portions.
Even if it means adding a few extra ingredients or spending a few more hours on a project, being able to serve people plentifully is the goal of any great chef or independent home improvement operator. Leave people feeling satisfied when they try your recipe or visit your store. Soon, you’ll be viewed as a reliable community staple. If you’re planning a special event, be sure you’re prepared for every eventuality.

9. Share your recipes and your success.
You and your team work hard to keep your home improvement operation clean, welcoming and highly shoppable. Don’t let that hard work go unnoticed! Share your success with your local community by regularly hosting or contributing to local events. Post your monumental milestones on social media to stay connected with customers and other small business owners.

10. Stay hungry.
There’s no stopping place for retail. Each year brings new trends, new innovations and new ways to reach customers and boost sales. Staying hungry will motivate you to remain focused on your ultimate goal: total retail domination. Don’t settle for good enough; don’t expect new products or new employee management resources to find you. Visit the North American Retail Hardware Association regularly to learn how your association is finding new ways to help retailers like you succeed.

About Todd Taber

Todd Taber
Todd is an assistant editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. He graduated from Indiana University where he majored in journalism and French. Throughout his career, he has aimed to highlight small businesses and their community value. He joined NRHA in 2017 and now serves on the news and marketing teams. In his free time, he likes to run, spend time with family and travel the country.

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