Posted on 08/18/2014

By Elizabeth Hawes, Product Marketing Manager

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself."

                                                                                                                   - Henry Ford

A retail company and its operations cannot work in a silo, nor should it. Whether it’s entering a new market or making improvements to existing real estate, retailers can benefit from collaborating and sharing best practices with vendor partners, franchisees and contractors. When teams are aligned on your overall mission, milestones can be met efficiently, on time, and with a sense of accomplishment for all involved.

Collaboration with Vendor Partners

Vendor partners provide the tools you need to successfully deliver on projects. In order to turn that vendor into a strategic partner for your business, it’s important for there to be transparency and trust between the two. Having a good NDA and contract in place is a good way to set that foundation for trust.  When a vendor fully understands what your needs are, it can help get you there faster. When projects hit a snag or have to be re-prioritized, a vendor that is kept in the loop and clearly trusted will stick with you through the good and bad.

Collaboration with Franchisees

If you are franchisor, have you created collaboration with your franchisees to successfully deliver your business goals?  Without the proper level of communication and coordination, the task could feel like herding cats. For long-term success, make sure you bring the right franchisees on board. It may seem like a good idea to grow your franchise through friends and family, but don’t put the cart before the horse. First consider who is in it for the long haul – with committed franchisees on your team, they will become your allies (and more importantly, not your competition.)

Likewise, if you are a franchisee, consider fellow franchisees as “co-opetition,” where collaboration can spark friendly competition and a sense of camaraderie. As franchise owners, you are often faced with the same challenges – how to successfully run multiple units, find growth capital, accurately measure performance, etc. Having a support team, whether it is virtual or through an actual monthly meet up, can be invaluable to your success.

Collaboration in New Markets

Even as an established retailer, a whole new set of challenges can be encountered when trying to break into a new market. Different regions pose their own set of licenses and tax rules, as well as social and topographical differences that must be understood and adapted to in order to be successful.  For example, expanding to the west coast would mean understanding what site requirements are needed to be protected against earthquakes. Thinking of setting up shop in Montreal? Consider what modifications have to be made to your business to thrive in a city that speaks two languages.

It’s worth it to introduce yourself to neighboring retailers to gain insight into the market. They can fill you in on what’s customary to the area and where to move in to best meet your sales goals and overall mission.