Retail Advice: Instituting Change
Todd Hays, President, Columbus Car Audio and Accessories
I would like to share some practices that my company does all the time to cause change. First, we create a budget and then analyze it. Yes, we have a budget. If you don’t have a budget, you’re making a big mistake. You should be determining how much you’re expecting to sell, spend and make as a profit. This will help you do many things. First, you will be able to determine how much inventory you need on hand to sell. Secondly, you can evaluate every expense line. You will see how much the trash is costing you annually. Maybe it’s time to pick up the phone and get some estimates from other companies. Finally, don’t just do your budget, look at it and put it away. You need to spend time with it at least weekly. Compare your projections with your actual numbers. You will see problems with the numbers before they become unmanageable.
Another thing we do to cause change is evaluate all of the products and services that we offer. Many years ago we spoke proudly to customers in saying, “We only do car audio -- that’s what makes us the best.” Well, that was a great philosophy in the late ’80s and early ’90s, but not now. Every year we try to add something new. You cannot be afraid to diversify. We have had plenty of success stories with new categories, and yes, a few disasters. The only way to do something new is to put your neck out on the line and try it. We have always had an above-average expeditor business with local car dealers. One day we realized that we would finish putting in a CD player for a dealer and some other company would pick up the car to install a spoiler and a sunroof. Finally, we decided if they can do it we can do it. So we spent some money to train people and today it is a flourishing business. Find a new product, big or small, to work into your business today. There are many to choose from: sunroofs, spoilers, pin-striping, spray-in bed liners, truck accessories and leather interiors. The list is only limited by you.