Many businesses in Hope rely on the summer season as their money-making months. Most have spent considerable time and effort contemplating their strategies to maximize the window of opportunity to ensure their ongoing success, and to build loyalty and recognition in their customer base. Here are a few questions that many summer businesses can ask themselves even now, with summer already upon us:
• Are you staffed up? Though perhaps an obvious question, some businesses are left wondering how they can afford to staff up before sales or summer business bring in the cash to justify those extra hands. One option is to research available staff subsidy programs or training opportunities. The Get Youth Working hiring incentive is one, and the Targeted Wage Subsidy program is another.
• Are your staff trained up? Are your staff ambassadors for your business, industry, and your community? A quick trip to the Visitor Centre will ensure that they know of the upcoming festivals, events, and attractions occurring in Hope and the surrounding area, while an intentional browse through the Hope Business Directory will ensure they are aware of other businesses able to supply products not on your own shelves. Your suppliers may offer free training on your products, to ensure your staff are true experts on the products they sell. Other skills training may be required and for this there are programs such as the Targeted Skills Shortage Program which funds staff training for small business in certain sectors.
• Do you have summer hours? Maybe it’s earlier, later, open during lunch, or open on the weekend. Maybe it’s no change at all. Now is a great time to think back to last summer and note when customers were coming in the door, testing the waters by opening early for a week to see what the impact could be, or asking repeat customers if your times are convenient for them. Change may not be needed, but staying in tune with your customers’ needs is invaluable.
• Are you taking advantage of existing resources? Do you have some copies of the Hope visitor guide, or a quicklink on your computer to the online version to answer questions from your clients? Do you have new product samples, displays, or manuals readily available? Are you planning to stay open during particular summer events, or partnering with a neighbouring business to put on a sidewalk sale. Have you thought of the impact of the Hope Mountain Market, and how you may take advantage of the clientele that event attracts to the town? Before you invest in your own tools, it’s often beneficial to scope out the community toolbox and succeed as a team.
There are never-ending questions and options as a business owner, particularly in a small town. Without taking intentional time to chart your course, however, it is impossible to match your efforts with specific results, and track progress toward your larger business goals.
Thank you to all the hardworking business owners and their staff for helping to make our community a great place to live. We as a community wish you the best of success, and look forward to sharing a beautiful summer with you in Hope!
Tyler Mattheis is executive director of AdvantageHOPE. He can be reached at 604-860 -0930 or info@advantageHOPE.ca.