La Costa, CA--The holiday season of 2017 was good for most everyone and now we look forward 2018. Regardless of your year-end results, there are a few key things that every jeweler should do to posture yourselves for a successful launch into the new year. Here is our top checklist of 10 essential "to do" items to get you started:
Things to Do This January:
1. Send "thank you" notes and appraisals to clients who purchased during holidays. Following up right after the holidays is important. It reinforces the purchase decision and the follow through on your commitment to get their appraisal out in a timely manner. Handwritten "thank you" notes are uncommon these days and sending one makes you memorable to your client.
2. Pay off your line of credit as soon as possible. Paying off your LOC right away gives you the option to draw it up again and keep your cash flow smooth.
3. Pay down accounts payable with your vendors. Use your extra cash flow from the holidays to pay off your vendors or set the necessary funds aside to use the payment terms you have agreed to. Again, this will keep your cash flow steady through the upcoming months.
4. File all co-op advertising claims for holiday advertising. Don't put this off and risk forgetting to do it. Get your money now and use it to pay off your debt and invest in new inventory.
5. Replace fast-selling merchandise. We all know the importance of having the fast selling merchandise in stock at all times. This is where your inventory turn comes from and what keeps your cash flowing. Restock those important pieces immediately so you will have them for Valentine's and Mothers' Day. Don't wait until the trade shows to write your orders; this just slows down your turn and limits your profitability.
6. Do you keep a book of promotion and advertising critiques? Every store should keep an ongoing record of store promotions. This enables you to make better decisions in the future. Take a few minutes to write out the details of your holiday promotions and advertising; include what you did, what worked, and what didn't. This will make future planning not only easier but more effective and also prevents you from repeating mistakes.
7. Evaluate staff performance and reduce non-performing staff. No one likes to reduce staff, but it may be necessary. It’s easy to see your best and worst performers immediately following your busiest month of the year. With current sales performance numbers, this is the best time to make those justifiable changes. The numbers sum it up.
8. If you are on a calendar fiscal year, lay out your 2018 monthly financial plan and 2018 monthly cash flow plan. There is no better way to manage your business rather than it managing you. Laying out your financial plan and adhering to it keeps you from both overcommitting and neglecting important parts of your business, such as advertising. Your cash flow needs to be managed, not just assessed according to what's in the checking account today. A thorough plan puts this all in order.
9. Identify old merchandise to scrap or redesign for 2018. Let's face it, if the product was old going into the holidays, it's even older now. It's time to clean up! Go through your cases one by one and make the cuts. Move out that old merchandise: scrap it or redesign it into something that will sell this year. Give yourself a deadline to have it gone by the end of the month, because otherwise you'll find it's still there this time next year!
10. Send all 'over the counter purchases' to the refiner. Whatever that bag of purchases looks like, send it out and convert it to cash. Get a fresh start and use the funds towards replenishing those fast sellers you need to have in the case now.
We hope this list of tips will help you in getting a fresh start in the new year. If we can be of any help feel free to contact us. Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! --Dan & Lori Askew, www.VantageGroupinfo.com; (760) 633-2959.