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My Opinion: How to be the Best in Business

This week’s My Opinion Monday piece comes from Emma Hartley, owner of Emma Hartley Bridalwear in Colne, Lancashire. She explains why it’s crucial to think about others in order to get the best out of your business

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Emma Hartley shares her business opinion
Emma Hartley shares her business opinion

There are many situations that give us retailers sleepless nights – wedding warehouses selling dresses cheaper than wholesale, new shops opening up nearby, suppliers demanding huge minimums whilst seemingly forgetting the exclusivity they promised.

Add to that brides who are ever-more demanding, wanting not just a dress but a magical experience they will remember until the end of time and, to cap it all, high street chains jumping on the already oversubscribed bridal bandwagon. So, what to do?

Don’t miss: Our video interview with Courtyard Bridal Boutique

My strategy is simple and applies to every area of life: do as you would be done by. Before you roll your eyes and turn away, let me tell you how it works.

Put yourself in your brides’ shoes:

  • What social media would you follow?
  • How would you want to be treated when booking an appointment or making an enquiry?
  • How would you want the shop to look?
  • How would you want to be made to feel during your appointment?

As a retailer, look at things from your competitor’s perspective:

  • How would you feel if a nearby shop acquired one of your labels?
  • How would you feel if they criticised you to brides?
  • How would you feel if they offered to undercut your prices?

Think about your staff too:

  • As a member of staff, how would you want to be treated?
  • What would make you wake up every morning looking forward to work?
  • How can you grow and develop your team?

Think like a supplier too – how frustrating it would be if a shop stocked your label but then failed to invest each year whilst demanding exclusivity. If you are not ready to reinvest, let go and move on with good grace.

As an industry we need to stand shoulder to shoulder during turbulent times. We can be in competition without wanting to annihilate each other. We need to be forward thinking, resilient and embrace change to survive.

Looking for more advice? Read our top customer service tips from the Bridal Buyer Awards winner and finalists!

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