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10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Retail Makeover

By Audel Ortega, Tru Vue Marketing Analyst

The retail makeover at Fourth Corner Frames & Gallery was a full comprehensive retail makeover that covered business processes along with aesthetic changes. But most of the results are not out of reach for the independent custom framer who is interested in revitalizing their business.  That’s why we’re sharing our learnings of the retail makeover Tru Vue conducted at Fourth Corner Frames & Gallery in Bellingham, WA with the help form our consultants and industry experts, Ken Baur and Meg Glasgow.


This post covers what questions custom frame shop owners should ask to begin the planning process for their own retail makeover. These are never easy questions to answer. But, if you can determine the answers to these 10 questions you will be able to set up realistic goals, prioritize those goals, and begin the processes to help you execute and start your own journey of a retail makeover.


Here are the questions you should ask yourself before starting your own retail makeover



1. What do I know about my strengths, both in terms of my store and myself?


A makeover is about assessing your opportunities as much as it is for realizing where you also have to improve. Understanding your strengths also helps you see your weaknesses in a different way. You need to recognize what to leverage and where to develop to determine a clear strategy for growth. This also helps to determine which activities would be better for you to delegate.



2. What is my Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?


What does your business have to offer that is different from other options potential customers can choose? Perhaps you specialize in a certain type of framing. Maybe your customer service is exceptional. Your USP is at the core of your brand, so take the time to really consider it.



3. What goals do I have for my business?


Many business owners will automatically say, “Get more customers.” However, this is not always the first or most important goal. In many cases, the first priority should be to work on cultivating your current customer and business methods. Think about your goals over the course of time, considering both short-term and long-term objectives. Also, choose goals that you can measure over time to help track progress and evaluate what changes work and what do not.



4. What do I know about the financial health of my business?


Take an in-depth look at things like cash flow, average ticket price, and margins. Knowing how your shop is doing with its current projects and customers is essential for establishing goals moving forward.



5. Am I using technology to its fullest capabilities?


Are you doing the most you can with your software? Have you done everything you can with online marketing tools? Is there production technology that could increase your efficiency on projects, saving enough money on labor to afford the cost? Learning to use technology better to your advantage and getting into the rhythm of staying updated will be a vital part of your makeover plan.



6. What is my brand, and do my marketing materials and merchandising reflect that?


Look at your business cards, website, and any other marketing materials you use. Do they look like they come from the same place? Do your displays showcase your best work? Does your storefront convey the image you’d like? If you were a potential customer, what would you think about your business? Go online to research local custom framing options. Consider how your shop would stand out in comparison to other places potential customers could go for their framing needs.



7. What do I know about my customers?


Have you been tracking as much customer information as you can? Can you define what kind of customers frequent your store, and are they the customers you want? Ask your clients how they heard about you. It is important to find out where they got their information on your business. Knowing who your customers are now and how they found you will help with continuing the relationship, as well as developing new ones.



8. What do I know about my market?


Don’t rely on assumptions about who your customers could be. Spend time researching your market, including demographics, local trends and how other businesses are marketing. Anything that was true about your market 10 years ago may have changed significantly today.


9. How much time have I been putting into managing the financials and marketing?


Be honest with this question. Many custom frame shop owners came into the business because of their artistic and design skills. Therefore they tend to gravitate to these aspects of the business and may not put enough time into other areas that need just as much attention.



10. What is my budget?


Very few, if any, small businesses have the resources to do everything they want. However, knowing what you can commit to financially for a makeover will help you prioritize and even lead to discovering creative ways to make no-cost changes.



Once you’ve answered these questions, you have a good start on developing a plan for your own retail makeover. Whether you are preparing for significant changes or would like to take small steps over time, look for additional information on the Frameworks for Success section at to help guide you as we will be sharing article tips and videos throughout the year.

This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.

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