Rule number 1 – Thinking you are going to beat WalMart on price is about as stupid as sending your daughter on a date with Mike Tyson. Get that out of your head, if by some wild notion it was in there. Thinking that you can muddle along doing the same things 2 years from now that you do now? Not gonna happen. Hamilton retailers, your mindset has to change.
It really doesnt matter what you are doing right now – if you are a Hamilton retailer, your business is likely going to change. When it happens and why it happens is. What matters is what you do with the time between now and opening day. Ive been watching the Bitterroot Star for months and its been mighty quiet about the date, or guesses at the date.
First off, I would suggest contacting the Miles City Chamber of Commerce and ask them for the names of a few retailers who they feel have reacted successfully to the SuperCenter that opened in Miles City in October 2006. When you get the names, call them up and pick their brain. What did they do, step by step, from the time the announcement came until the store opened?
What have they changed since October’s opening?
What worked? What didnt?
If the people you get in touch with really get it, and are experiencing successes that you want to duplicate – fly them to Hamilton (yeah, I know, Billings to Missoula) and ask them to speak at a meeting of Hamilton retailers.
Its critical to understand that this is NOT a networking meeting. Likewise, it is not a whine, complain and wring-your-hands session.
It MUST be a practical, nuts and bolts, “what did you do, how can we adapt that to Hamilton?” session. I would suggest recording it, with questions going to microphones so that the questions and answers are available when notes fail you.
Step 2, coming next time…