In Your Store

Hindsight 2020: Take Stock, Make Goals & Go For It

Alright everyone, time to lose 10 pounds, stop procrastinating and finally take that class you have been meaning to take! Just kidding, we know you don’t have time for that. But we bet you do have an hour to assess the state of your business and set goals for the coming year. Just like buying product: let’s take stock, figure out what we need and then place our orders.

A mind map of the Art Dog universe as we take stock of our own goals for the coming year.

Taking Inventory

There are plenty of models of management and goal setting and performance analysis for your business. At MacPherson’s, we run a SWOT analysis to assess Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats before we talk about any big projects. Start with key areas and identify where you want to improve:

  • Staffing. Do you have the right people in place? Are you overstaffed/understaffed? If you need to hire, what will it cost? Personalities that work well in an art store include self starters, multi-taskers, organized/clean individuals and teachers. Do you have key-holders you trust? Could you give more responsibility to an all-star?
  • Inventory Levels. Do you have all of your key items in stock? Are there lines that no longer serve your core customer base? Can you bid them farewell to make room for the new items launching this year? Focus on your top sellers in your rationalization, then move on to niche products.
  • Merchandising. What area of your store had the most growth this year? What could you do differently in this area to highlight the most popular products? Are key items above or below sightlines? Is your signage clean? What about your displays? January and February are excellent times to clean. Hot tip: Mr. Clean Magic erasers are…magical. Try them on your plastic displays covered in pen and marker.
  • Marketing: What is your street appeal? Is it time to invest in a new awning, hire a window painter or buy an updated sandwich board? What about your social media: how many followers do you have and how many you want? Do you have a dedicated person for this task? Do you have a calendar for them to follow? 
  • Education: How many classes did you promote last year? How many classes do you want to host this year? Do you have a lead person on this project? When is the last time you reached out to teachers who no longer teach anymore? Do you have a contract for your classroom? 

Next, Load Up Your Cart

Now that you’ve identified where you stand in key areas and where you’d like to be, it’s time to establish clear, achievable goals. Take a SMART approach to create goals that are Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented/Achievable, Realistic/Relevant and Time-Based. 

Okay, this post might start to feel like homework, but hang in there. Even if journaling or making lists isn’t your thing, writing out answers to the following questions can really help get your team on the same page. The SMART process makes for a powerful habit.

The SMART method is worth it! In solidarity, Art Dog.

Specific. Answer “Who, What, When, Where, Why, How.”

  • Who will create interesting content for our social media?
  • When are events in our community that we can capitalize on?
  • What was the top growing lines last year, and how can we partner? 


  • How many rings do we see at our register vs. online?
  • We want to reach ___  Instagram followers
  • How many students are signing up for classes?

Action Oriented/ Achievable. Set realistic expectations and identify a clear path of action.

  • We will hang a new sign by the end of the year.
  • We will engage students and young people this year by having more relevant events and product lines.
  • I’ll have two staff appreciation events where my team can relax and connect.

Realistic/Relevant. Don’t overreach. If you have 100 Instagram followers, you will not get to 1 million in one year. Make sure your goals are top priorities that you and your staff can get behind.

  • Likely: We will greet every customer as they come in the door, because we want them to feel like family. 
  • Unlikely: Every customer who comes through the door must be a repeat/return customer.

Time-Based. Pick a timeline. This exercise is designed for one year, but there is no reason you can’t turn this into a five year plan that will be updated annually.

  • In two months, our staff will have a set schedule.
  • By BTS we will have reorganized the acrylic section.

Keep It In Your Sightline

Write down these goals and put them somewhere your team can see them. Pin them on the wall, put some reminders on your calendar throughout the year, make a mood board—whatever inspires and encourages your team to stay on point. And there is nothing like a few accountability buddies to help stay the course! Get energized by our community: share your goals in the comments below or shoot us an email; we will touch base with you in a few months to see how it is going.

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