Failure to Plan is ‘Planning to Fail’

    The Foremost Business Development Team share advice on planning for 2024.

    In these volatile times it has never been more important to find time and review what is happening in your retail business.

    Some simple review and planning will pay you back in 2024. The constant distractions and busy working environment daily mean it is next to impossible to work on strategy whilst in the business. The saying “not being able to see the wood for the trees” comes to mind. Therefore, the best planners take time away from the business to take stock of how it’s performing, mistakes that have been made, and how to improve going forwards. Diarising time to do this is one of the most effective things you can do for your business.

    Cash Flow
    How did you manage your finances in 2023? Were there any pinch points that you could plan for next year? Every business needs to do a cash flow forecast for the following year to know what sales you need to do, how much stock that requires, what you can spend and when. At Foremost, we have a fantastic document that helps us put these forecasts together for any retail and coaching business in our group.

    This is a crucial area to get right, especially in these volatile times of going from a lack of supply to over supply very quickly. Your till system is your best friend in helping to predict what you will need for 2024. Never go into pre-books without this data. Place your orders based on what you are likely to sell, not the numbers you need to do to get a better deal. Remember, its only profit when it has sold! When it comes to shoes and bags in particular, make sure you factor in a percentage that you will inevitably have to special order in
    for customers.

    Study each stock category to know your winners and losers. Our recommendation is to as a minimum review the last two years of performance to avoid changing your business completely because of one rogue year. There are also product cycles in some stock categories. Some basics to start with. There are some simples to start with i.e. “How many units did you sell in the stock category?” It’s so obvious but it can be a simple mistake, to get carried away with when pre-booking.

    Forecasts keep us on the rails and help us make choices like any budget, therefore avoiding the pitfalls of overstocking
    in 2024.

    If we take just one stock category – Shoes. The key question to ask would be: “How many pairs of shoes did you sell over the last two seasons?” Average that number and you have your forecast for pre-booking. Ideally know your sales by size split. This isn’t an exact science as there will be slight fluctuations year-to-year, but the rule of thumb is to back the common sizes.

    If you are buying into more shoes than your forecast there is very likely to be only one result, overstocking and all the perils that result. This leads to reduced cashflow, forced sale activity, and margin reduction.

    If you are Forecasting more units than you have averaged over the last two years, then how is this going to be achieved? Are you implementing a new retail initiative for the category in-store e.g., a new shoe wall? Are you increasing your digital marketing or database reach? Are you engaging in new retail initiatives and campaigns to engage with your database?

    Market what you sell and then get behind the products you’ve chosen and promote them to your database. At Foremost we co-ordinate buying and marketing and it’s no coincidence that you sell more of the products that your marketing gets 100% behind. You will also return a higher margin on products that you stock than multiple special orders that will also compound a potential overstock situation. The best retailers sell what they stock whenever possible.

    Retail turnover commonly used to be limited to how big your shop was and how much stock was in it. These days though, it is limited by how well you market yourself and whether you have all your customers on your database? If you aren’t digitally communicating with your golfers when they aren’t at your facility, your competitors are. Obviously, these communications need to regularly include your services, choice, and value, but also make sure you include fun local content. The objective should simply be this: when people think about golf, make sure they think about you.


    Are your team providing the level of service you expect and selling well when you’re not in the shop? If not, plan staff training and development for 2024. Many expect their staff to be performing to a very high standard, but don’t invest the time in them or give them the tools to be at that standard. There are a number of golf professionals that always seem to have brilliant staff around them. This is not a coincidence, and it reflects the importance these pro’s place on developing their team.

    Take Advice
    The work you do now will pay dividends in 2024, so if you are in a retail buying group take the advice that is readily available, we’re here to help. In conclusion, make sure you diarise time away from your business, so you can plan to capitalise on the strengths and not repeat the mistakes of this year. It will be one of the
    best uses of your time, to ensure 2024 is as strong a
    year as possible. GR

    For more information on how Foremost can assist you and your business in 2023 simply email or call 01753 218890.

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    As an avid golfer since the age of eleven Dan lives and breathes all things golf.  With a current handicap of eleven he gets out and plays as often as his work life (and girlfriend) allows. Dan confesses to still being like a kid at Christmas when it comes to seeing the latest golf equipment. Having served as GolfPunk’s Deputy Editor, and resident golf geek for the past 13 years and working for golf's oldest brand, John Letters Dan brings to GOLF RETAILING an excellent understanding of the sector.