Diary of a Small Business Owner (3/15/20) - The Store is Closed
Since we opened our store over five years ago, we always said the worst case scenario would be if the store had to close for an extended period of time. Our retail store is 50% of our revenue annually. During a non-Q4 month (like March) it's 75% of our monthly cash flow.
Just last Friday (March 6), we thought things would have to get very bad for our store to be closed. Well, things got bad.
The Nashville mayor today issued guidance for restaurants and bars. Being that our store is in a city-run building, the official word came down this evening. We'll be closed at least through Friday. But the way things are going, I'll be shocked if we're open again on Saturday. And I'll be happy to be shocked if that's the case.
So once again, it's time to be nimble. We're not alone; many "traditional" employees are adjusting to life working at home. Schools are closed, hospitals are getting crowded, people are stuck in other countries - we're all in this together.
This morning, we made the decision to discount the entire store 20% to incentivize shoppers to grab an extra item to two. Just two hours in I got the sinking feeling it wasn't enough and then everything jumped to 50% off. I made the call because I'd at least like to get our cash out of current inventory if we're facing weeks on end with a closed store.
I'm hoping we can sell a lot of it to online shoppers, so be on the lookout for new items and some sexy deals. I'm also hoping that corporate customers who want to send a work-from-home care package can find the perfect gift to help employees stay connected and motivated. So, here's hoping.
Our team is going to hustle this week. Hustle and a high level of work ethic are not new ideas for our team. It'll be good to be busy, so we can keep our minds off of what we can't control by trying to shape our own future as uncertain as it is.
But we're not going anywhere. This is a hiccup, not a heart attack.