Mom and Pop Stores vs Big Chains - How to Stay Competitive in 2019

Mom and Pop Stores vs Big Chains - How to Stay Competitive in 2019
Jackie Lam
on March 18, 2020
Read in 3 min

Mom and pop stores have a lot going for them:

Loyal, devoted team members; and a synergistic exchange of fresh ideas and knowledge between generations.

However, they also come with their own host of challenges.

We’ll cover some of the common problems family business owners face, along with some solutions:

Mom and Pop Stores Must Clarify Roles & Responsibilities

Delegating tasks and defining roles of your employees will clear up any confusion.

In turn, you’ll be running an efficient, well-oiled machine.

Create job titles and detailed job descriptions for each of your employees.

Yes, do this regardless of your personal relationship.

And just like any good employer, conduct annual employee reviews with your family members.

It’s already a fuzzy line when working with family, so you’ll want to keep things professional as much as possible.

Mom and Pop Stores Must Set Boundaries Between Home & Work Life

There’s no way around it–

You’ll have to set boundaries and expectations for members of your family business.

Just because you happen to be married to your business partner, or have your kin working under you doesn’t give them special privileges.

Make sure you’re wearing your “employer” hat while on the job, and your “wife” or “husband” hat on at the homestead.

If you have a personal matter to hash out, wait until you are at home to discuss things.

Small cues and protocols can make a difference.

For instance, refrain from calling your business partner your “wife” during business meetings and when introducing them to new vendors and potential business partners.

If there’s a dress code for your business, make sure everyone adheres to it.

Not only will you be creating an air of professionalism, but you’ll make it clear that all employees, related are not, are on a level playing field.

Mom and Pop Stores Must Officialize Division of Equity

This is challenging in any joint business venture, but particularly tricky when bloodlines are involved.

Make sure you suss out equity in your business when the time is right.

Avoid conflict by getting it down on paper, and create and update your contracts accordingly.

Try not to let nepotism nudge through.

Do your best to be as equitable and fair as possible.

And keep the best interests of your small business in mind.

If you find it helpful, consult a small business adviser to offer you counsel on what would be best.

While it’s ultimately up to you, garnering expert, unbiased advice from an outsider could help you make a sound decision when divvying up the equity in your business enterprise.

Mom and Pop Stores Must Determine Business Succession Planning

You may be faced with having to pick between several highly eligible candidates.

Conversely, you may find that just because someone is family doesn’t mean they necessarily want to take over the business.

It’s best not to make assumptions.

Give affected family members a chance to air out their concerns and lay pertinent details out on the table.  

Mom and Pop Stores – Staying Competitive in 2020

We oftentimes hear about big-box retailers edging out their smaller, locally-owned competitors.  

We wouldn’t want that happening to you, so here are some tactics for leveraging your family business’ strengths:

1. Take advantage of the the shop local movement.

Supporting mom and pop stores are trendier than ever.

In fact, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), in 2016 Small Business Saturday reached record highs, with an estimated 112 million consumers reported shopping at their favorite small businesses.

By touting that you’re proud of your locally-owned mom and pop store, you’ll attract loyal customers who support your business and the value you bring to your community. 

2. Find new ways to deliver value.

Be in tune with the needs of your customers and community, and you can drum up novel ways to deliver value that the larger competition can’t.

For instance, niche down and create a product or service that adds value to a specific segment of customer base.

Use a combination of customer feedback, existing market research, and your own collected data to understand the needs of your clientele.  

3. Pivot quickly— and often.

The greatest advantage of having a mom and pop store?

Your family business can surely innovate and implement changes more quickly than big businesses.

Marshall your resources and secure additional capital to change with trends in the market.

Because you don’t have to go through the layers of approval of a conglomerate, you won’t risk stagnation.

Instead, you can move swiftly and change course with your business plan and objectives.

Funding OptionsEst. APRMax. Loan AmountMin. Credit Score
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OnDeck Capital
Est. APR
Starts with
9%
Max. Loan Amount
$ 500,000
Min. Credit Score
600
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kabbage_logo_vertical_min
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24%
Max. Loan Amount
$ 250,000
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560
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blueVine
Est. APR
Starts with
18%
Max. Loan Amount
$ 5,000,000
Min. Credit Score
600
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Funding Option
Seek_Capital
Est. APR
Starts with
9%
Max. Loan Amount
$ 500,000
Min. Credit Score
680
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Funding Option
Lendio
Est. APR
Starts with
5%
Max. Loan Amount
$ 500,000
Min. Credit Score
500
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4. Create an experience.

From the way, you communicate with your customers, to the design of your website, and the decor and finer details of your storefront, retain customer loyalty by going above and beyond and creating an experience.

You’ll be adding that wonderfully personal touch that only mom and pop stores like yours are so well-equipped to do.

5. Cultivate community.

What are your small business’s core mission and values, and how can that best be expressed in your offerings?

Cultivate community by organizing workshops and presentations run by local leaders and talent.

Or spearhead a local drive to support a charity.  

Ask your customers for feedback on how your mom and pop shop can do its part in giving back to the community.

Owning a family business is no easy feat and bears its own host of issues.

But by keeping clear lines between work and business, and coming up with solid solutions, you’ll be among the mom and pop stores able to thrive in 2019.

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Jackie Lam Finance Journalist

Jackie Lam is a personal finance writer and and blogs at Cheapsters, which helps freelancers and artists get creative with their money.

Her work has appeared in Investopedia, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and Acorns’ Grow Magazine.

When not writing about money she enjoys roller derby, volunteering, and writing fiction.
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