Channeling Change and Scaling Growth

In 2011, I sat down to do a deep dive of my business and its future in relationship to where and what I felt it needed to be. There were two key concepts and outcomes that became obvious to me: Channeling Change and Scaling Growth.

After 7 years of just one store, it was clear that the business had to change and grow. As I look back at that critical time, I am reminded today where I have been and what it took to get here. I remember starting with the executive summary of my original business plan and expanded it to take the long view by
implementing another 5 year plan and a 10 year plan.

I am now heading to the end that second 5 year timeline and it is in that realm, I am sitting to revisit what I have accomplished and not achieved. This requires a serious indepth analysis of what has been done and not been done will enable me assess and evaluate what to fine tune for the next 5 years and what to add or subtract from the plan.

This process is part of my end of yearly quarter reporting which is essential for the basic business planning process. How are I doing? Or more specifically, how is Calabar Imports doing?

The best I can say is that the first part of the plan called for an extensive expansion into locations and in 2012-2015, we did just that, moving from 1 to 4 stores. So, basically, whave accomplished the difficult tasks of opening the stores. We have met the challenges of change and are now dealing with scaling our growth into the four new stores. Each venue and location has its particularities, nuances and present different situations and opportunities.

The second part of this process has been most challenging and sometimes tricky -staffing the stores to give me time to manage the expansion. So many books have been written about staff in the retail industry, some true, some exaggerated and others not true but the real truth is good staff stay for a year or two a you are on the path to their next future thing.

The third part of the process is to increase revenue, expand events in each store and open up new sections of the business. Revenue increase require a three-pronged strategy: increase and diversify must have products, match price points of products sold to neighborhood, and increase social media activities and online sales.

Last year began an extensive process of doing events in all the stores. And it has continued as an integrated part of the stores. This process has gone through trial and error but it has been able to yield results that have been focused on building awareness of the store. These events have created a distincrive brand identity in the market and most importantly has attracted attention to the business.

This year, the focus will be on opening the last two sections of the business: gallery and showroom. These two distinctive models of business are part of the business plan and have been the carefully thought through to target audience, growth and opportunity. April saw the opening of the gallery and June will be the opening of the showroom. Each model is tricky and after almost 12 years of studying both, the plan has targeted an under-served audience.

Channeling Change and Scaling Growth can be difficult in any business but it is vital to do it to stay competitive and relavant in the global market. As I begin the next five years, I am more cognitive of what the challenges and opportunities are in my future.


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