I honestly believe that small/medium stores, in small/medium towns, with the average mix of common inventory, can no longer make it on walk-in retail alone. In recent months, this column has discussed adding new revenue streams, picking up new customers and persistence in planned marketing. This month, let’s pull all of those together and talk about how to change a humdrum store approach to a vibrant mentality. Everything we’re going to talk about requires an upbeat thought process. Just make up your mind that you’re going to do something different this week, and then do it. For good or for ill, just do it.

First, pick up some new monthly cash flow by adding band instrument (BI) rentals to your lineup of store services. Contact a BI rental company and become an affiliate. It will take a year or two to see rental income that really counts, but you will have zero cash outlay. After we became an affiliate, our first few monthly checks were some $30. Now, our monthly checks are four figures, and that’s every month for 12 months of the year. A $1,000 check with zero cash outlay is the profit equivalent of about a $2,400 sale, based on today’s margins. That’s equivalent to an extra nearly $29,000 in sales each year, with no cash obligation on your end. Could you use the profit from a spare $29,000 in sales in the bank right now? If you answered yes, then make some calls and get started.

Another avenue to make more things happen for your store is to increase your customer count. I know that sounds like an old saw, but sell two things on Reverb.com and/or eBay: 1. dead/slow-moving inventory, 2. unique inventory. That will turn stale stock into cash, and it’ll give the entire world a chance to buy your unique items that your walk-in traffic might not care about. Your customer count goes up each and every time someone buys an item from you online. eBay and Reverb.com accounts are free. Your smartphone is your camera. Get started, and get busy! Not knowing how isn’t an excuse, either. Both eBay and Reverb.com have simple how-to pages to get you started.

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