Plan ahead for your retail business and reap the rewards in 2024

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 19, 2023 11:29

Ian Melham, Head of Membership Services, Foremost Golf, offers advice on planning ahead for 2024.

In these volatile times it has never been more important to find time and review what is happening in your club’s retail business. Some simple review and planning will pay dividends in 2024. The busy daily working environment means it is very difficult 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.

Invest time into staff development in 2024

Proper cash flow forecasting and management is essential for any retail business

How did you manage the 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.

Cash flow forecasting and management is essential for any retail business

Stock planning sets you up for success

This is a crucial area to get right, especially in these volatile times of going from a lack of supply to oversupply very quickly. Your till system is vital in helping to predict what you will need for 2024. Never go into pre-books without this data. Place orders based on what is likely to sell, not the numbers you need to do to get a better deal. Remember, it’s 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 the 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 outlier year. There are also product cycles in some stock categories. Some basics to start with. There are some simple factors to start with, that is, ‘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.

Your till system is your best friend when it comes to placing pre-books

Forecasts keep us on track 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 cash flow, forced sale activity and margin reduction.

Stock Planning is imperative. Look to utilise your Retail & Marketing Group for support

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, for example, 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?

Consider your marketing support when entering pre-books

Market what you sell and then get behind the products you’ve chosen and promote them to the golf club and customer database. At Foremost we coordinate buying and marketing and it’s no coincidence that you sell more of the products that your marketing gets 100 percent 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.

Make sure you consider your marketing support when entering pre-books

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 the golf club, the competition is. Obviously, these communications need to regularly include the services, choice and value offered, but also make sure you include club and member content. The objective should simply be this: when people think about golf, make sure they think about your facility.

It’s imperative to showcase your facilities and services via your online channels

Develop your staff to set the standards

Is your team providing the level of service you expect? If not, plan staff training and development for 2024. Many managers 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 clubs and professionals that always seem to have brilliant staff. This is not a coincidence and it reflects the importance they place on developing their team.

Utilise training days with your buying group and industry suppliers

Taking the time and advice now will be worth it down the line

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 the retail 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.

Contact Ian on or call 01753 218890


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 19, 2023 11:29
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