Maryland SBDC
 

Retail Business Checkup

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  Scoring
H: Healthy = meeting standards consistently
OK: Okay = haphazard compliance
S: Sick = not occurring in the business
[n/a] = not applicable
* If a statement is not applicable, or you don’t understand it, leave [n/a] checked. Your total will be adjusted accordingly.
The Basics
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. Your business is making money.
2. You are paying your bills on time - especially invoices with discounts.
3. Your suppliers are shipping you with terms.
4. Your inventory is fresh.
5. You are current with your taxes, permits, and licenses.
6. Your business is trending up overall since you opened.
7. Your business is trending up compared to last year. (comp #’s)


Finance
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. You reconcile your checking accounts.
2. You are producing regular, consistently formatted statements. (income statement, balance sheet, sources and uses of funds)
3. You operate with a rolling cash flow 12 - 18 months out.
4. Your receivables are current.
5. Shrinkage (bad debt, internal and external loss) is less than 2% of gross revenue.
6. There is a sales plan in place.
7. Your lease is competitive.
8. Your payroll is an acceptable percentage of sales.
9. A basic ratio analysis corresponds favorably to industry benchmarks.


Operations
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. You match packing slips with purchase orders with invoices and check quality of goods.
2. Your system allows for orderly register “closings” at C.O.B.
3. You make bank deposits daily.
4. You keep UPS or postage records for mailed merchandise.
5. You have policies for damaged or spoiled supplies received from vendors.
6. You record weather on your daily business summary report.
7. You anticipate business needs and work loads based on weather predictions and/or seasonal variations.
8. You periodically "drop-in" on your day off to see if your management is as good as it should be when you are not there.


Inventory
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. There is adequate inventory to support the sales plan.
2. Inventory turns maximize investment dollars.
3. You follow a purchase plan or open-to-buy.
4. You "know" your inventory including all backstock.
5. Markdowns are done in a timely and well-promoted fashion.
6. You take advantage of manufacturer's stock programs and special order capabilities.
7. You inquire if certain vendors will hold key items specifically for you in their stock.
8. You are continously looking for new merchandise that would add daily to your marginal sales even if the margins are a bit lower than you would like.


Merchandise
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. Merchandise is clean.
2. Merchandise is well displayed, grouped, and accessible.
3. Lighting is adequate or even enhancing.
4. Merchandise is priced, well marked, and/or clearly signed.
5. The store looks full and "ready for business."
6. Merchandise is maintained throughout the day.
7. You re-merchandise on a regular schedule.


Physical Plant
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. The front/entrance of the shop is clean and in good condition.
2. Windows are clean.
3. All light bulbs are working and interior is well lit.
4. Window displays and signage are effective and in order.
5. Windows are changed on a regular schedule.
6. The floor is clean.
7. Signage is effective and informative.
8. The music is appropriate.
10. The shop opens daily "ready for business" regardless of your presence.


Personnel
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. Staff is stable and turnover manageable.
2. Employees clearly understand performance standards and friendly customer service.
3. Operational policy and procedures are clearly stated.
4. Employee discounts or purchase program are clearly defined.
5. Employees have an understanding of “product knowledge”, “selling techniques”, and “use of downtime.”
6. Training is provided.
7. Employees are properly groomed and attired.
8. The compensation system incentivizes behavior.
9. All behavior receives appropriate feedback.
10. You solicit and listen to employees’ ideas and suggestions.


Customer Service
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. You can describe your customer in detail in two or three sentences.
2. Merchandising (purchasing, display, signage, pricing) policy (checks, credit card, return, exchange, credit), promotional, marketing, repair or replacement decisions are made from a customer service perspective.
3. Your customers are greeted when they enter your shop.
4. Your employees answer the phone in a prescribed manner.
5. Customers are thanked when they spend money with you.
6. You have had your store “secret shopped.”


Marketing
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. You have identified the most effective means of communicating with your customer. (neighborhood, community, local, regional resources.)
2. You capture customer information for mailing or direct contact.
3. You contact customers on a regular basis.
4. You have a marketing plan and budget.


Competition
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. You patronize the competition.
2. You are familiar with competitors’ marketing, assortment, depth, pricing, and policy practices.
3. You are beating the competition.
4. You consider having "loss leaders" that are readily reorderable and might enhance customer loyalty.
5. You understand where else a customer might spend the dollars that would be spent in your shop. (substitute, complementary, or alternative products)


Loss Prevention and Safety
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. Shop and register keys are in management’s possession at all times.
2. Customer entry chimes (bell) work.
3. Stockroom and office doors are closed and secure.
4. Rear entrances are locked.
5. You conduct regular inventory plus "spot check" inventory on costly goods.
6. Emergency numbers clearly posted in front and rear of shop.
7. Fire extinguisher and first aid kit are in good order.
8. Exits clear, exit signs and emergency lights are working.
9. Dressing rooms (and bathrooms) are monitored by staff.


Technology
  [H] [Ok] [S] [n/a]
1. You employ a computerized Point of Sale system that provides effective data and control.
2. It integrates to accounting and inventory systems.
3. It captures customer information.
4. You have a Website.
5. You have done a “Technology Assessment” to determine appropriate technology applications and cost/benefit for your business.


The results of this checklist may be used by the Maryland Small Business Development Center for marketing and research purposes. This document is copyrighted ©2001-2006 Maryland Small Business Development Center - Central Region, and may not be reproduced or altered with out consent from the Maryland Small Business Development Center.




           
   
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The SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), University of Maryland Center For Applied Policy Studies (UMCAPS) and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) under Cooperative Agreement Number 01-7620-0021-06. The support given by the U.S. Small Business Administration through such funding does not constitute an express or implied endorsement of any of the cosponsor’s or participants’ opinions, products, or services. All of SBA’s programs and services are extended to the public on a non discriminatory basis.
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