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Growing pains.

Somewhere in one of my family albums there's a photo of a young Dan Tratensek riding a bike with his arm all wrapped up in a makeshift cast. There was actually nothing wrong with my arm at the time, but when I was a kid, for some reason, the slightest ache or pain merited the application of a cast, bandage or sling. (I know. Weird, right?)

Actually, I think the main motivation for these "injuries" when I was younger was that I knew they were sure to get attention. I'd go to my mom and say, "My arm hurts. I need a cast." She'd just say, "Oh, those are just growing pains. It means you're getting ready to grow bigger and stronger."

As a kid, this was both reassuring and encouraging. For one, I got a little attention from my mom. Two, any actual aches or pains I might have had were easily explained away. And three, like any young boy, the thought of growing even bigger and stronger was an exciting proposition.

In this month's feature, we're going to talk a little bit about the growing pains retailers face when they are trying to expand their operations.

Every high-performance retailer knows that there comes a time when your ability to enhance your profits requires you to significantly grow your operation.

And whether it is going from one location to two, or eight to nine, there are always challenges--finding the right location, understanding the subtleties of a new market, managing construction, store setup and advertising.

Even for retailers who think they have all these concerns addressed, there are sure to be challenges when opening a branch store.

In our feature, titled "So You Want to Expand?" we talk to several retailers who have successfully navigated the tricky waters of business expansion. These retailers have all managed to grow their operations considerably throughout the years and were very willing to share some of the secrets to their success.

While all of their pathways to growth have been quite different, there are definitely some common denominators they all shared.

First off, one of the biggest obstacles to growth is having the right person or team to run the new location. While you can do all the research in the world to find a quality location, prepare an attractive assortment and develop a strong marketing plan, all of this is for naught without the right people running the new store.

Failure was another common theme shared by many of the retailers we interviewed. Though this sounds like a bad thing at first, these retailers all managed to learn from the failures and use their experiences to better prepare for their successive ventures.

The final common trait these retailers shared was their passion for growth. Despite the challenges they've experienced along the way, they all feel their businesses have emerged far stronger and more profitable through the growing process.

So if you are contemplating growing your own business, take a look at these retailers' stories, starting on page 42. While they might not be wearing makeshift casts on their arms, you can be sure they earned their share of bumps and bruises. But like my mom said, "Those are just growing pains. It means you're getting ready to grow bigger and stronger."

Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher

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Author:Tratensek, Dan M.
Publication:Hardware Retailing
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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