5 Tips for Running a Retail Business or Restaurant Like a Campaign

Bematech Blog - November 2, 2016

two young adults at a computer considering running  a retail business like a campaignThis year’s presidential election gave us a lot to think about. Among all of the takeaways from this election year, there is a subtle, yet important one for merchants: you should be running a retail business or restaurant like a campaign.

Here are five ways business strategy aligns with political campaigns and how they can help your business grow:

  1. Setting objectives. Political campaigns have an ultimate goal (winning an election) and set objectives to get there. The same basic process is used when running a retail business. You have broad goals for your business, such as increased sales, but you need to set the specific steps or objectives that will allow you to reach those goals. Just as with a political campaign, you should find a way to quantify and monitor progress and adjust your strategy to get the desired results.
  2. Gathering evidence. Once you’ve set objectives, you’ll need to gather evidence on how to accomplish them. This isn’t evidence to discredit a competitor, but rather information to help you learn all you can about how to reach your objective. For example, if you want to attract younger customers to your business, research which items to offer at price points they’ll respond to and how to keep them engaged through loyalty rewards or promotions.
  3. Addressing the issues. Your company needs to define where it stands on issues your customers care about. For example, your “platform” when trying to engage younger customers could include a stand on social responsibility or using organic ingredients. They care about those issues; show you do as well. You also need to manage your business effectively to show customers the experiences you provide them are a top priority.
  4. Forging alliances. Running a retail business or restaurant like a campaign will be much easier when you forge alliances with vendors and distributors. Alliances are important when it comes to stocking the right products and getting the best deals, and in addition, the stronger your vendor and distributor alliances are, the more willing they will be to help educate you and your team and remove any obstacles that are standing in the way of reaching your objectives. To make it easier to create alliances with vendors and distributors, ensure that you always pay them on time and remain in compliance with their terms.
  5. Getting the word out. In addition to setting goals and objectives, formalizing your stand on the issues, and securing backing from your alliances, develop messaging and share it with your customers and prospective customers. If you are running a retail business like a campaign, you will use traditional methods of advertising in addition to exploring new avenues, including different social media sites and fostering relationships with “ambassadors” who want to tell their friends and family about the positive customer experiences you provide.

Running a retail business or restaurant like a campaign doesn’t result in votes. You gauge your success, instead, with sales, customer loyalty, and business growth. The steps you must take to achieve those goals, however, need to be just as strategic as those political candidates use.

As you set your business goals for 2017, make sure you are mapping out a strategic campaign that will help you reach them in the fashion of a landslide victory.