Skip to content

'Retail Doctor' Addresses Local Business Owners - Englewood Chamber of Commerce

By Hillary Viders
Special to Northern Valley Press
This article originally appeared in the April 25, 2016, South edition of Northern Valley Press.

On Wednesday evening, April 20, business guru Bob Phibbs, known as the “Retail Doctor,” addressed over 75 Englewood business owners and managers at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. 
Englewood Mayor Frank Huttle with Bob Phibbs.
The subject of Phibb’s workshop was “What it Takes to Compete in Today’s Market,” and following an introduction by Mayor Frank Huttle, Phibbs geared his talk to all the types of businesses that were present – from clothing and jewelry stores to beauty salons and entertainment venues such as bergenPAC. Phibbs’ presentation was designed for Englewood retailers to understand current customer purchasing trends and how to thrive in this new competitive business environment.
The event was hosted by the Englewood Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, NVE Bank and the Crowne Plaza. 

Michael Pietrowicz, senior vice president of strategy at EHMC, recently commented that, “As the largest employer in Englewood, we know how great a city is it, and we value and support the local business community and merchants and their important role and contributions to Englewood and all the residents.”  

Phibbs, a nationally acclaimed speaker, author and consultant, agrees. He began his presentation by saying, “I’ve traveled throughout the country and throughout the world. Today I saw firsthand that Englewood has a vitality and that it is an excellent city for business to thrive!”

During his 22-year career, Phibbs has been a frequent guest on MSNBC and FOX. Phibbs and his work have been featured in Entrepreneur magazine, the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. In addition, he provides business makeovers for the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of the award winning book “You Can Compete.” His latest book is “The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business.” In 1993, Phibbs received the Greatest Increase In Sales Award from South Coast Plaza, then the highest grossing per square foot mall in America. Following his presentation in Englewood this week, Phibbs will be the keynote speaker at a World Congress on Business in Brussels. 

Many participants came to the Englewood workshop because of concerns about the decline in local business. 

Jewel Speigel, whose popular art gallery has been on Dean Street for 51 years, remarked, “Our city certainly can use Bob’s help. Englewood does not offer the financial opportunities that it did in the past. Nowadays, so many small businesses open, falter, and then quickly close.”  

But, according to Phibbs, “Englewood is not unique in its retail sales situation. In fact, the business environment has changed everywhere and we will never be back in the 1990s when money was flowing freely. This is the new normal, so let’s learn to make the most of it. America is still an amazing place for business opportunities and we are the one per cent of the world.” 

Throughout his presentation, Phibbs engaged the audience with lively demonstrations as he discussed the “health” of businesses. He gave strategies for making changes and evaluating every aspect of a business to build a customer base and boost sales. He even gave examples of how small businesses can survive in the face of competition from giant chain stores, citing a success story of a small coffee restaurant that out-maneuvered Starbucks. 

Workshop participants all agreed that Phibb’s presentation was filled with useful ideas.  

Here are his 11 most valuable tips he gave for small businesses:

• Stop looking at the glass half empty. People shop when they feel hopeful. If you can’t find some hope somewhere in your life, you will be unable to give customers the hope that that dress will help them get the guy, the feeling you’ll have driving that car is worth the cost, the promise of a wedding. In that case, you’ll be stuck trying to just sell a dress, a car, a ring – it’s boring. Find the hope every day in what you are looking forward to and distance yourself from those who only see the sunset.

• Change your store windows and displays at least monthly.

• Stop focusing on price – especially in your stores. Price doesn’t make something a value, people do.

• Take everything out of your store and repaint, deep clean and get rid of the junk that hasn’t sold in years. When customers come into a store, they always ask “What’s new?”

• Email your customers once a week with a tip how to use a product of yours, not just another sale.

• Be active on Facebook using pictures of people buying in your store, happy people with their purchase in their home, events in your store. Show the energy.

• You have to sell your merchandise, get retail sales training. There’s no point to attracting people to a store if you don’t know how to close the sale.

• Look at your marketing costs and discounts, find ways to reward your employees to sell the full-priced items instead of marking them down.

• Get rid of “Bitter Betty” or “Bitter Bill.” If you don’t like coming to work with him/her, your customers don’t either. And that’s true – even if you’re married to them.

• Collaborate with other merchants on events and promotions. The power comes from the individuals coming together and brainstorming. If you wait until everyone else has ideas to be positive and make plans, you’ll be left behind.

• Phibbs closed the workshop by encouraging everyone to always have a positive attitude. “Every night, before you go to sleep, write down five things that went well with your business that day. When you wake up in the morning, write down five good things that you expect to accomplish today,” he said. 

Photo by Hillary Viders

Scroll To Top