JBN: Business Strategy

26 Nov 2019

JBN Logo April 2019 compressed
It doesn’t have to be complicated, but strategy is necessary. Michael Donaldson, JBN facilitator, offers lessons from UK retail jewellers.

Some say: “It’s not a great time to be in retail”. Aside from the continued growth of internet sales, retail is beset with rising business rates, store closures, unit vacancies and declining footfall. The economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit and Trump are affecting currency rates, metal prices, and consumer confidence.

Some retailers say they are just too busy IN their business, to be able to spend time ON their business; others are simply daunted by the word STRATEGY and others by the thought of producing a strategic growth plan.

Yet some retailers are bucking the trend and posting positive results, year after year. 

Positive results can be managed by controlling your costs and growing your sales – it’s not complicated. Anyone can cut costs, it’s quite simple – just say no more money, no more pay rises, no more purchases, no more marketing, no more tea bags. It’s far more difficult to grow and develop a profitable business, product or service. The former tends to be an emotional reaction and certainly an unsustainable tactic, the latter more of a planned strategy. It ain’t rocket science but it can be challenging – physically, mentally, emotionally, financially; and it demands from you time – time to think about the future shape and direction of your business.

A quick look through the pages of the jewellery trade press, or a longer look at the Companies House documents, will confirm that many of our larger jewellery retailers are constantly posting positive results.

If you have the time, take a look at the following retailers: Beaverbrooks, Berry’s, Boodles, F Hinds, Fraser Hart, TH Baker, Warren James, and Watches of Switzerland; combined they are estimated to be approximately 40 per cent of the UK jewellery and watch market (based on Euromonitor ma estimate). If you have longer, delve into their accounts, websites and press interviews, and you’ll glean insights into their strategies; you’ll also see that their average store turnover varies between half a million and eight million – a bracket that probably captures the majority of jewellery and watch independents.

And if I were a betting man, I’d bet every one of them has a strategic plan for their business. (If they don’t and they’re reading this, I’d love to hear from them).

Many jewellers know they should have a plan but just don’t know where to start. In 2014 I polled the JBN members and only 17 per cent of them wrote a plan that goes beyond the key financials and headlines for the accountant. At our recent round of Autumn meetings, I repeated the poll and I’m encouraged that 54 per cent of the members write a formal plan for their business and the others left the meetings with a couple of templates to start writing their own plan for 2020. Option A: the six-page plan or Option B: the six-paragraph plan; after all, business strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, but it is necessary.

The JBN regional groups meet three times a year and once for Congress, yet the benefits of membership are enjoyed 365 days a year  for information on how to join the JBN see the box below.

For an annual subscription of £850, you and your business will benefit from the shared knowledge, experience and expertise of the JBN – Retail via: 

• Monthly Performance Reports - enabling you to benchmark your business against other retail jewellers
• Online Q&AForum – whether you have a business issue or just seek guidance. You ask the question and the members answer
• Educational Store Visits – allow you to see and hear what other jewellers are doing
• Regional Group Meetings – to discuss the issues and opportunities they face, as well as develop new business skills
• News Flash Service- receive relevant business and Industry articles straight to your inbox Member Business Surveys – on topics identified by the members
• Plus the opportunity to influence and shape the content of the Annual Oxford Congress 

For further information visit the NAJ website or call Michael Donaldson on: 07817 305 122 or email: michael@thevalueinnovator.co.uk

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