What business are you in and what is your position? Are you an owner or an executive?
I am in the business of retail. I am the Manager of the store Boxer in Queenstown NZ. We stock urban and streetwear fashion.
Can you provide a link to a site where we can get to know more about you or your business.
Check us out at www.boxernz.co.nz
What is your story? How did you come to run a business?
I have done various job through retail for the past 6 years. I have also worked as a graphic artist and visual effects artist as well. It wasn't until my partner had bought the store in Queenstown and asked if I would like to Manage the store as I had a little more experience in the streetwear and urban fashion than he did. Since I have accepted the position I have hit the ground running looking for some edgy fashion that would be different to the rest of Queenstown but affordable at the same time. So far we have been getting a great result with people coming back to purchase from us. We have also received some great compliments that provides us with the confidence to move forward in the right direction.
What are the most recent changes being carried out in your business, and why?
We have completely change majority of the labels that were in our store. The reason being is that we feel our store is somewhere that people can come to find something different and new. A lot of the labels that were in here were quiet over priced and we would like to provide our customers with more decent priced labels that are just as or if not better than our previous labels.
A business is based on creating relations of trust with clients, suppliers, employees... How do you create and maintain yours?
First thing is first! We provide all our customers, clients, suppliers, employees with they same respect that you would like to receive if you were walking into a store. Although we do provide a regular customer with discounts with our loyalty card in store. I find most people don't care as much about this and are more happy to come back because of our friendly service. Our suppliers enjoy interacting with us for the same reason.
How do you attract and retain the best talent?
This may sound stupid but I act myself, thus attracting the same friendly and motivated people like myself to work in Boxer.
What is “selling” for you? What is your technique? What is the greatest lesson you have learned about selling?
I am always still learning about selling. But the most important thing is to understand what your customers needs are and what they want. I get a lot of information out of their body language and by concentrating on this I can see if they like something or hate it! It is a great technique to understand as I can always see what they are interested in without them telling me. I usually almost always get a sale out of this.
What techniques do you use to obtain customer loyalty?
I don't pressure my customers. Boxer is a store that I want to always be welcoming to their customers. They can spend as little or as much time as they like here I find that by not pressuring my customers they always come back. They may not buy today but I may have them come back and purchase more because I allowed them the space to look around and think for themselves.
How do you generate ideas for your business? Are you used to brainstorming with someone?
As I work alone in the store I usually brainstorm by myself and bounce my ideas of various people such as customers, friends, my partner etc. I usually research to see what other people are doing but I usually will see something or hear about something which will trigger an idea
Do you see in your business a margin to optimize processes and reduce costs? How would you do that?
Currently I am using the 80/20 rule. As we are a growing business I am finding by picking 20% of items that labels have to offer (usually the best of what each label has to offer), I am providing my customers with the coolest gear and if I have hit the nail on the head with the gear it walks straight out the door
How does one develop the instinct to detect business opportunities?
I think this is something that everyone finds out by getting in amongst it all
Clients do not always know what they want. How do you correctly interpret their comments and requests?
As I have said before if you can study up on body language this is usually a great indication of what they really want. By asking specific questions about what they are looking for helps you to find what they are looking for a lot faster.
Do you have a well defined future plan, or is it in your head rather than on paper?
I have a general idea on where everything is heading but nothing is written in stone something may come across my desk that I find is a much better idea than the one I had
What types of promotion or advertising have you tried? Which have worked best?
I have tried, magazines, radio, internet, and word of mouth. The biggest and most powerful one is word of mouth for us as we are in a small town but magazines are the next one down from this. Then radio and internet.
Are the words "New" and "Free" magic in your sector?
Free is not in my dictionary here. Everything has a price but I do very good deals on certain items. New is not really a magic word I could have an item sitting on a shelf for a very long time until the right person walks through that door and claims that the item is perfect for them so the words "perfect" and "deal" are probably more magic in my sector
What role does technology play in your business? Do you believe that you are where you need to be technologically speaking?
technologically at this point in time we are fine. As we grow we will need to upgrade with the times
How do you make use of the Internet? Have you already tried all the possibilities that the Net can offer you?
We haven't tried all possibilities yet but I feel we don't need to. We have our internet site at the moment as we go along we will grow with our development
What opinion do you have of the tax system your business operates under?
I do not deal with this sector as I hate dealing with tax I get the owner to work this out as he needs to know where his money is going!
What is the competition like? Have you have learned things from them?
Competition can be fierce if you want it to go that way in a small town. I am not about competition. Other stores in town all have their main product that they promote. If I don't have the particular gear that my customer is looking for I would be much happier telling them where they should look for it in the other stores rather than saying I don't know. It helps promote the other stores and it shows that we aren't bad arses and are out to rule the world. I believe we are all trying to make a living so why not help eachother? I worked in stores which were situated in a shopping mall and it is hell seeing each store attack eachother. It isn't fun going to work and everyone looks like they hate their job. Not a good look to have when customers are walking through the doors.
What are your criteria for buying insurance? What has been your experience with this?
I do not deal with this yet again as this is my partner's store I get him to deal with this. This way he has an understanding on what is protected and what is not.
What do you expect of your bank? Does it respond to your needs?
Our bank offers great advice when needed and are always available for a chat even if it is just a small question that we need answered. I believe that they are great for this as they can offer ideas that we would not have considered
At times it is necessary to take on debt to get ahead. How do you distinguish between good and bad debt?
Sometimes but not always. Good debt is when you know that you are able to pay back the debt. Bad debt is when you have not researched into why you want extra cash and how it will be distributed to make the money work by paying back the debt and making a profit as well. If it is bad debt is dead money and it will dissolve into a giant black hole never to return.
How indispensable are you? Would your business survive if took you a year’s sabbatical?
I make sure that our assistant employees are all trained up to be able to run the store themselves so if I end up in hospital or something bad happens to me (touch wood) they will be able to keep running the store as smoothly as I am able to do.
Which decisions turn out better: the immediate, visceral ones, or the ones reached after mulling the matter over for a few days?
immediate unless it is a huge decision then you need a little more time to think about the pro and neg side of things.
If you wrote a book about everything you have learned doing business, what would the title be?
Take it to the Limits
What is your advice for surviving the economic crisis?
I believe you choose very carefully the products that you definately know will sell don't add any products that you are not sure of. Cut the fat!