JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Product Sampling

By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. If you feed them, they will come…. One of the most successful local store marketing (LSM) tactics to build into your daily operations is a sampling strategy for your products.  If your retail establishment is foodservice, your customers will want to taste the product.

JohnMatthews

May The Co-Op Be With You….

By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. When a multi-unit organization begins to grow, one common step in this process is the creation of advertising and purchasing co-ops that enable stores to pool their financial and strategic resources. Generally, co-ops are determined using Designated Market Areas (DMA) of which there are

JohnMatthews

Project Management

By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “The nice thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.”  – author unknown If you get in a car in Chicago with the intent of driving to Los Angeles,

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Sports Sponsorships

By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Sports sponsorships are terrific ways to build your brand through local store marketing, because they are so flexible in nature.  Creating and fostering a relationship with a local team, while customizing your sponsorship to suit your needs, can catapult your brand further than simply

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Key Leaders

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This adage held true in your first job search and still holds true today in business.  Building and fostering long-term business relationships not only enable you to be connected to the key decision makers in

JohnMatthews

Making Prudent Capital Investments

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. When it comes to the long-term success of a business, one of the key drivers is prudent capital re-investment.  Unlike operational expenses that are used to run the daily business or working capital to purchase inventory, money invested in the business that yields incremental

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Store Anniversaries

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Over the course of the last eight years, I have delivered a speech called “Local Store Marketing for Retailers” at least 50 times. This speech is designed to give retailers – both single store and multi-unit operators–a number of marketing ideas that they should

JohnMatthews

Break-Even Analysis

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. One of the most-asked questions I hear from store owners is “What sales volume does my store need in order to make money?”  While it would be convenient to rattle off a sales figure off the top of my head, it undoubtedly is a

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Greetings & Suggestive Sales

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. With any size retailer, getting customer trial at your store is the easy part.  If the store owner throws out a compelling offer – perhaps a free deal – customers will come to your store to “check you out.”  This is fairly straight forward,

JohnMatthews

Four Wall Analysis

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. When it comes to managing a profitable operation, knowing the key financial drivers of the store is paramount. Developing a “Four-Wall Analysis” is a helpful tool to better understanding both revenue projections as well as variable and fixed expenses. Few operators take the time

JohnMatthews

Connecting The Dots

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. You may think about your business 24/7, but chances are your customers do not. Hard to believe, right? I am a big believer that the successful businessperson is always considering how they can “connect the dots” for their customers more easily so that their

JohnMatthews

Operational Excellence

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Managing a retail store is tough work. Between operations, merchandising, marketing and facility upkeep, retail business owners have their hands full.  Managing the details of retail is the difference between making it or not.  All too often, retail owners become lax in their operation

JohnMatthews

Time For Business Planning!

John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . .”  Ah yes, the annual business planning cycle is upon us. The time of the year to huddle all of your business colleagues in a room to hash out the key initiatives for the upcoming

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Fostering Better Communication Through Franchise Advisory Councils

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Establishing a Franchise Advisory Council (FAC) as a formal communications system to ensure franchisees input with regard to store marketing & operations is a natural stepping-stone for a growing franchise operation. FAC representatives are an indispensable part of the communication system in that they

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It’s Showtime!

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. It is time to create a stir.  Some excitement.  Some passion.  Go ahead, pound your chest a bit.  It is time to make yourself known.  It’s Showtime! All too often, store operators – after their grand opening—sit back and wait for the phone to

JohnMatthews

Promoting Your Store Through Public Relations

 By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Public relations can often be overlooked as a powerful tool in communicating your store and its brand throughout the community. Whether you are creating news, sponsoring an event or contributing to a charitable organization, a prudent public relations strategy can create the following benefits

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Coupon Books

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Growing up in Michigan, I was a part of a very prestigious high school baseball team– the Plymouth Canton Chiefs.  Year in and year out, our team was highly ranked and continually vied for the state championship.  Playing on this team was a sign

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Productivity: Motivating Employees

By John Matthews, president and founder of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker, but of the manager.” – Peter Drucker. I remember my first managerial job in retail foodservice.  The year was 1987, and I was a manager trainee for Little Caesars Pizza.  I had just

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LinkedIn – The Power of Networking

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. With the introduction of social media in the last five or so years, networking and expanding your relevancy in your community has never been more productive.  Unlike most advertising and media, social media enables you to create a two-way communication with your network contacts

JohnMatthews

Maximizing A Convention

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Whether this is your first industry convention or you are a seasoned pro, I am a firm believer that establishing a well-thought out plan in advance of attending an industry convention is key for maximizing results.  Many conventions can be daunting with thousands of

JohnMatthews

Branded vs. Proprietary Foodservice

The debate has gone on for many years–should you implement an existing branded foodservice program or are you better off developing your own unique proprietary brand?  The answer to both is YES!  There is no right or wrong answer as both have their pros and cons.   Branded foodservice offers the quickest path to implementation since

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing for Retailers

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc., www.graycatenterprises.com. In today’s tough economy, the fight for share-of-customer by retail stores to effectively capture sales has never been fiercer. Retail stores that sit back and wait for the economy to improve will have a very long road to recovery. Aggressive retailers that go

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