Survive and Thrive: How to Win in 2018

The time is now to capitalize on all that shared information from business cards and exchanges this past week.
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Author: Patrick Durkin

Archery retailers leave the annual ATA Trade Show feeling excited, optimistic and re-energized after surrounding themselves for three days with innovative products and thousands of upbeat industry professionals.

Now it’s time to capitalize on all that shared information and enthusiasm. Yes, you earned a day or two off after all the walking and talking required at #ATA2018, but don’t squander those investments you brought home from Indianapolis. Start putting them to work so you can cash in during the months — and years — ahead.

First, review your notes and organize your business cards. Which deals require study and follow-up calls or emails? Who requested you get back to them with specific quantities and delivery dates?

Second, you collected stacks of business cards for a reason, right? Don’t risk losing them, and don’t waste time shuffling through that random pile every time you must call a distributor, text-message a sales person, or email a manufacturers rep. Back up those valuable business cards on your computer, and turn them into a valuable resource by making them instantly searchable. Check out Evernote or similar apps to keep that data available 24-7 on your smart-phone, tablet or computer.

Be sure to review your notes and organize your business cards. Which of those deals required a study and follow-up call or email? Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Next, place your orders now. Beat that Show-only deadline or buying-group specials you snared in Indy. You might never see those prices again, especially when your busy season arrives in a few months and the hottest items aren’t in stock. Sure, you might have more time next week to verify your existing inventory and reassess 2017’s sales data, but make sure that extra time doesn’t cost you. Verify or confirm that information ASAP while all those many sales and inventory nuances from the past year are fresh in your mind.

Also make sure your inventory-tracking system has recorded every order you placed in Indy. In fact, if you’re now doing all that analyzing and ordering by walking around your basement or back-room with a clipboard, it’s time you take a serious look at ATA ePRO, which tracks your inventory and ordering automatically. Did you visit the Membership Services Area at the Trade Show, and did you talk to an ePRO expert and pick up all the ePRO information? Good! You might not have signed up for ePRO then, but your time toting that clipboard today should reinforce ePRO’s value. Delay no longer. Order it now.

What if you’re not sure about other deals or products you considered at the Show? You’re probably not alone. Reach out to your archery-retailing colleagues on ATA Connect. The ATA created this new online discussion community exclusively for ATA members.

As an ATA-member retailer, you can take advantage of ATA Connect’s Retail Growth Interact community, which is productive and focused on solutions for everyone. It’s a safe, confidential space to network and solve industry challenges through constructive, helpful discussions.

Retail Growth Interact is a great place to share ideas and ask questions about the topics that matter most to your business, including buying patterns, profit margins and what to charge for services. You can address industry challenges, and boost your bottom line while promoting archery and bowhunting.

As an ATA-member retailer, you can also reach out to the ATA’s Outreach staff for help. They’ll steer you to classes that boost revenues through recreational archery — a market where many of your fellow retailers are seeing growth. The ATA’s Outreach specialists can also help you find a nearby instructor-certification class to build your store’s credibility and enhance its value to your community.

When looking into the many benefits of the RGI area, programs such as Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing are a great first step after taking Level 1 and 2 coaching certification courses. Photo Credit: Shannon Rikard

Now is also an opportune time to get your store’s website up to date and craft a customized, sustainable plan for updating your website and social-media content by working with a website professional at FootSteps Marketing.

Sydney Schalit, FootSteps’ general manager, and Patrick Curry, its founder and director of business development, can help you determine your store’s website needs. You can then take advantage of $600 to $3,000 in ATA-sponsored discounts on startup and service fees on websites that are custom-designed by FootSteps’ experts.

Take time, too, to ensure your customers — new and prospective — can readily reach you. Verify your store’s information with the ATA so everyone can find you when they visit Archery360 or Bowhunting 360 and use the ATA’s powerful store-locator tool. This comprehensive search engine locks onto the viewer’s location, assesses their needs and interests, and steers them to ATA-member archery stores like yours for help.

As you can see, #ATA2018 was just the first step in helping you thrive in the months ahead. You likely invested five or more days in that trip to Indianapolis, not to mention all those expenses for travel, meals and hotel rooms. Don’t settle for mere retail survival. Now’s the time to take steps that ensure your store’s long-term prosperity.

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