I’m passionate about working with retailers to give them the tips, tools, resources, information and inspiration to manage the many, many, many (how many many’s are there??) hats you wear to run your businesses each and every day without going crazy!  And so you can still have a life.

Let’s face it….you wanted to be a retailer because you love your merchandise concept and you wanted to create an exciting place where customers would love to come to shop.

Going to market is so exhilarating, overwhelming, exciting and a little scary, right?  How many of those wigitmacallits should you order?????  You spent hours pouring over catalogs and in showrooms picking out just the right merchandise combinations.

You’ve designed your store, created your logo and branding, found the perfect packaging, hired your staff, dreamt of every detail. Opening day arrives and you’re off to the races.

Now comes the fun part.  Not only do you get to be the decider of all things, you get to be the one who worries about getting feet in the door and driving sales.   You’re the visual merchandiser, the sales trainer, the HR department and the marketing guru…and on some days you get to be the plumber, the handyman,and the janitor plus the one who takes care of all the complaints (hopefully there’s not many…probably more from staff than customers).

WHOA!  Is this what being a retailer is all about?  There’s so much on your to-do list and you can never get it all done.  The things you feel like you HAVE to do to move your business forward are the things that get pushed to the back burner because of all the daily “emergencies” that pop up.

I’ve been there.

23 years ago I opened my first retail store.  I had $54 in the bank on opening day (because of course it had cost WAY more than was budgeted) but I just knew I was going to set the world on fire.

Well, the learning curve was high.  I built up sales, then lost a big chunk of it to competition moving in a few years later.  So, I built up sales again by reinventing the store.  Every day was a challenge (but I did still love it) and after all these years there’s still lots to learn. What I did accomplish though was to create systems for everything from training to inventory control, opening and closing procedures, signage and display guidelines.  I even created a checklist and system for cleaning the bathroom.  Nothing was left to chance.  And because of that, my staff was able to do their jobs so much more efficiently and–to my delight–the way I wanted it to be done.

And I like to think I taught them some good life lessons as they went on to other jobs in their life.

The good news was though that I got my life back!

What all those systems created for me though was to free me up to really work ON my business–not just IN the business.  I could plan and strategize and feel confident that the store was running smoothly just the way I wanted it to even if I wasn’t there.  I had a great staff and they took a real ownership in the store.  But there was always something missing.

There was always one thing I wished for.

The one thing I always wanted though was someone to bounce ideas off of.  Someone who really understood retail.  Someone who I could ask a question and they’d say “oh yeah, here’s a resource for that”.

That’s why I created Bee Business Smart.  A place where retailing is understood, where you can talk to retailers about…well, retailing.  Your place for tips, tools, resources, information and inspiration to take the overwhelm out of the everyday.  You’ll find blogs about everything from driving sales to pop up shops and how to know when it’s time to fire someone!

The best part though is The Hive, a private Membership Site for retailers where you’ll find monthly Masterclasses with retail experts where they’ll take a deep dive into their specialty.  After you’ve learned from their webinars, you’ll have a chance to join them on a live Q&A session to ask the questions you want answered.  Every month there’s also a segment on Social Media, what works, what doesn’t and how to make it work for you.  And my favorite…monthly Retailer Spotlight interviews where you’ll get to hear all about some great retailing entrepreneurs that I’ve discovered around the country and learn from them.  It’s going to be terrific!  I hope you’ll join us in The Hive.

But in the meantime, I’m so happy you’re here.  Let’s get started!!