Remain true to who you are.
Competition shouldn’t change who you are and what you are about. Emphasize your philosophies and strengths. Jimbo’s … Naturally! has a strong focus on organics and, more recently, on foods without genetically modified organisms. We continually make sure people are aware of these standards. People appreciate the commitment even if it means Jimbo’s doesn’t carry certain products.
Don’t assume you know it all.
Don’t be afraid to ask other industry colleagues for help and support. Members of the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association regularly discuss ideas and offer advice via group emails. There are a lot of retailers who have had experiences that would lend themselves to helping you do better.
Treat employees well.
Your employees, especially your front line, interact with your customers on a daily basis. They represent you and your organization. Treating staff well—taking care of them (competitive wages, excellent benefits, bonuses, 401K and others), giving them training, offering opportunities to grow and letting them know how important they are to the success of the company— translates to happy employees, which translates into happy customers.