According to bookstore management expert Malcolm Gibson, if you run a bookstore, your main goal is to sell books, preferably lots of them. You must never forget this goal, though it can sometimes be overlooked by the daily demands of the business in terms of managing stock, supervising staff and keeping records. If you are not selling many books, you need to take immediate action.
Work out how many books you need to sell just to cover costs. This is called a break-even analysis, as explained by operations management expert Chris Vidler. This will tell you how many books you need to sell every month just to break even. This is the absolute minimum aim of any business. Your bookstore can survive in the short term selling only enough books to cover costs but in the longer term, you will need to do a lot better.
If your books are not selling, it might be because you have the wrong books. Make it a short term goal to discover what your customers really want. Set up a suggestion box or board so that your customers can tell you what books they are looking for. Visit other bookstores to find out what they have on sale. Have you missed any current trends or exciting new authors? Look objectively at your stock and add to it as required. Stock the books people want to buy and business will pick up.
Next Quarter Sales Projection
You need to have an idea about how well you should be doing. That way, you can work out if you are failing and do something about it. Compare sales in previous years to find out whether you are doing as well this year. If this is your first year of operation, try to get some figures from similar sized bookstores. Make a realistic sales projection for the next quarter.
Bring in More Customers
Plan some activities over the next few months with the aim of getting more customers through the door. Organize book signings, book launches and readings by authors to create a buzz about the place. Have fun activities for kids, such as book character fancy dress, story writing and drawing competitions. Make sure your store is noticed by potential customers.
- "The complete guide to starting and running a bookshop"; Malcolm Gibson; 2003
- "Operations management"; Chris Vidler; 2001
- Stockbroker/Valueline/Getty Images