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Monday, January 12, 2009

Things you can do to make your sari-sari store profitable

In a neighborhood where there are many other sari-sari stores, the important thing is for your store to be different from the others. Study how you can make it stand above the rest by answering the following questions:

* Who are your most likely customers?
* What time do the other stores open and close?
* What items do you sell at the moment, and which ones provide the biggest profit?
* Can you lay down some ground rules, like a "no credit" policy?

Things you can do to make your sari-sari store profitable

In a neighborhood of many competitors, the trick is to make your sari-sari store different from the rest.

Q: After selling our passenger jeepney, my Mother used our garage for a sari-sari store which she opened six months ago. This is the latest addition to the six in our vicinity. I don't think it's making that much, and I want to help. What can I do?

— A. Sta. Maria, Manila

A: How different is your mom's sari-sari store from the rest? We presume not much. So let's start with your neighborhood. Since you know this better than we do, answer the following:

* Who are the most likely customers? Are they mostly children, teenagers, college students, or professionals who are bed spacers? What are their usual needs? Stationery? Cooked food for dinner? Baon for school? Non-prescription drugs for fever or headache? If no one carries these, you might want to suggest these to your mom.

* What time do the other stores open or close? Perhaps your mom can open earlier or close later than these do.

* What items does your mom sell at the moment? Spend some time on this. You may find out that only 20 percent of her merchandise provides 80 percent of the profit. Remember, you only realize profits when goods are sold, not when they're kept in inventory. So, what do you do with items that don't sell?

* Can your mom get these "20 percent" at bigger volumes so she can get price discounts? This way she can increase her profits. And who knows, she may even be the supplier of the other stores for specific items like cigarettes.

* Additionally, can your mom easily replenish these so she doesn't experience stock-outs? Remember, if she doesn't have the item being sought by the customer, she has lost a sale.

* Can you agree on some ground rules, like a "no credit" policy? This is to ensure that your mom's store has enough cash to pay for necessary purchases. Or, like a listahan for anything that is bought and sold? Even those items (or even cash) taken by you and your family for personal use? This way, you'll know which items are fast- or slow-moving and how much the store has sold for each day. And this way, your family does not treat the store's kitty as a personal piggy bank.

* Can you and the rest of your family pitch in during their free time so your mom can do other things?

We hope you find some of these pointers useful. The important thing is for your Mom's sari-sari store to be different from the others.
Ask a Question “SmallBiz Clinic” is a joint project of EYP and the UP Institute for Small-Scale Industries (UP ISSI) that aims to provide free online consultancy and information services to small and medium-scale enterprises. A team of expert consultants from UP ISSI answers questions sent in by SME readers and advises them on general actions to take to better manage their businesses.

The UP ISSI is a training and research organization created in 1966 to help promote the development of small enterprises in the country. It has trained generations of successful Filipino entrepreneurs via comprehensive development programs in management, marketing, and finance, as well as other innovative development strategies such as the training of small business consultants.

UP ISSI brings to the “SmallBiz Clinic” over 35 years of frontline expertise in the day-to-day challenges and issues of running a Philippine-based enterprise.

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