If you run a jewellery or accessory shop on a high street, your largest cost will be your wage bills. If you have one or two employees, even if they are part time, they will eat up the bulk of your profits. As harsh as this might be to hear, the easiest way to save money during a downturn is to reduce your staff costs.
How do you do this?
There are two ways you can do this: either reduce the number of employees you have, or reduce the number of hours they work. Either way, you will be cutting down on the number of man hours that you have to pay for.
Is your shop busy every day of the week? Are you busy in that first hour after you open? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you have identified one method of reducing these costs. You might consider closing on a quiet day of the week, or opening later in the morning. If no one with money to spend visits your shop before eleven in the morning, then consider opening at eleven. Spread across six or seven days, that represents a huge saving in man hours.
If you are traditionally quiet on a Tuesday or Wednesday, due to local or other reasons, consider closing on that day. Closing for a single day during the week may allow you to open on a Sunday, a day that has become one of the busiest shopping days across the country.
And before you decide whether or not you can do this, examine your sales figures. A busy shop does not mean a profitable shop. If you have a lot of traffic on a Wednesday but very little profit (for whatever reason), then Wednesday is a poor performing day, and you should consider closing.
What about your staff?
As difficult as it can be to let people go, the simple truth is you are doing no one any favours if you go to the wall in twelve months because you didn't have the courage to lay off one staff member earlier. And consider yourself and your partner (if you have one). Do you traditionally take a back seat in your shop, allowing the staff to do the work serving customers while you do the books or place orders form suppliers?
If so, it's time you climbed down from your ivory tower and rolled up your sleeves. You should consider letting a member of staff go and taking their place yourself on the shop floor - the books can be done at night, or earlier in the morning when your shop is closed.
Once you've trimmed the staff costs down as much as possible and started serving customers yourself, what else can you do?