Clare Rayner’s Top 10 Tips For Micro Business Retail Success


The 10 steps to retail success is a methodology I have designed based on years of working with a vast range of retailers.

The purpose of the approach is to enable business owners to develop robust and repeatable processes and systems in order to become scalable, saleable businesses.

The 10 steps encapsulate all the ingredients any retailer needs to secure success. Whether starting up, already trading, online only or multi-channel, the 10 steps to retail success are a tried and tested “recipe” that is not only valuable as a one-time review of a retail business but which can be used time and time again.

I would advise at least once a year, to ensure that your retail business is relevant to the consumer and the market as things change.

By working methodically through the 10 steps a retail business owner can determine where to focus their time and effort, ensuring maximum reward for minimum investment.

Before I share what the 10 steps are, I want to explain what I mean by “robust and repeatable processes and systems…  scalable, saleable business” because these words have a great deal of significance and I thought long and hard before using them.

Key words

Robust: Simple, clear, easy-to-follow (one could say “fool proof”) processes that are unambiguous. Any member of staff, regardless of experience, can work “by the book”. You’ve given them the operating manual.

Repeatable: Obvious really – meaning your robust processes can be done to a consistent standard, time and again, replicating what your customers have come to expect from you.

Processes and Systems: The day to day actions, interactions, transactions and analysis your business needs to be doing to operate effectively and to deliver on your customer promise. These are done by either your people or are automated, done by computer processors. This includes anything from setting up a new product on the till to handling a customer complaint.

Scalable:  This is very important; it’s about utilising the robust and repeatable processes that you’ve created so you can grow your business without YOU becoming a bottleneck! When you’re a scalable business you’re able to walk away having delegated to others, and you will have the confidence that the business will operate, effectively, and to your standards, without you.

Saleable: The ultimate endorsement of your success – your business has a value in the eyes of an outsider. In order to realise the very best value for your business, should you choose to move on, it needs to have the previous 3 ingredients. A potential buyer will recognise the value of your business only when you can prove that the business is scalable, and that it can grow without you. To sell your business you need a new owner to be confident that with new management everything you’ve built up will continue to thrive.

The 10 Steps for Retail Success

So, back to the 10 steps to retail success, in summary these include:

  1. Defining your Goal and Mission – establishing what you want to achieve and how you’ll go about achieving it.
  2. Deciding your Positioning – relative to your competitive set, setting the standards which your customers will eventually judge you by when it comes to your product, price, presentation and service.
  3. Identifying your Ideal Customer – drawing a mental picture of the ONE unique individual who represents your ideal customer and knowing your ideal customer so well that they’re immediately recognisable to you, like an imaginary friend.
  4. Creating your Range Plan – planning the product strategy, which categories to sell, whether to have range width or depth. Calculating the ideal category mix and SKU count.
  5. Implementing your Pricing and promotional policy – ensuring your pricing and promotional activity is congruent for your positioning and attractive to your ideal customer. Leveraging techniques such as price laddering and price elasticity to influence your customers’ purchasing decisions.
  6. Developing your Channel & Location strategy – being where your customers are, knowing where they shop and thus ensuring you put your offer in front of them in order to secure their business.
  7. Designing your Customer Engagement processes – using the 4-part upward cycle comprised of attraction, conversion, retention and referral to turn potential customers into customers, customers into repeat customers and repeat customers into advocates who in turn become a key element of your new customer acquisition strategy.
  8. Determining your Sourcing & Supply chain model – selecting the right suppliers to deliver not only the right products for the right price points but in a way that fits in with your business culture, values, ethics and aims. Ensuring you implement appropriate supplier management techniques.
  9. Planning & controlling your business – keeping your finger on the pulse, using your key business data to provide you with an early warning system to alert you to potential problems / risks before they get out of hand. Using that data to make informed decisions about the future of your business
  10. Setting up an effective Back office – making sure you have appropriate processes / resources in place to provide effective HR, Legal, Finance and IT support to underpin your business success, to protect you from legal and compliance issues, and to prepare you for future growth.

If you want to become the CEO of a multi-million pound retail chain that YOU created you need to start thinking BIG. There are plenty of significant retail brands in the market today who started out as just an ecommerce site or a single store. If you have the ambition, drive, commitment and motivation to succeed then with the 10 steps to retail success you’ll be well on your way.

To help you on your journey I’ve created a free programme called “BE a retail champion by next year – 52 FREE weekly retail tips”. You get a tip delivered to your email inbox each week that gives you something to think about or an activity to complete linked to each of the 10-steps. If you’d like to sign up for that visit

I wish you every success!

micro business action

Today’s Micro Action

Call a strategy meeting and review how you could apply the ten steps in your retail business.