Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tip #199: Make Lemonade: Fresh-Squeezed Merchandising Ideas

Photo credit (bottom left to right):2015 RCI Fall Candy Clinic,Stephen Libs Finer Chocolates,
 DIY Lemonade Stand, LilLuna.com, Lemonade Sign, Burton Avenue

Every kid knows that setting up a lemonade stand in the front yard is an easy way to earn some added spending money for the summer. Why can’t the same idea be incorporated into your retail shop to increase sales this summer?

Draw inspiration from this iconic summer enterprise for your next merchandising theme. First, brainstorm ideas to display your lemon-flavored treats. Something as simple as draping one of your existing display table with a swatch of lemon-clad fabric and accessorizing with fresh lemons and a pitcher can set the tone for your lemonade-themed display. If you, or someone you know, is handy with a hammer and nails, erect an actual lemonade stand with scrap wood or old pallets. Don't forget, a hand-painted “lemonade” sign is a must!

Take your lemonade stand to the next level by inviting a local children’s organization, like the Girl Scouts or Boys & Girls Clubs, to actually sell lemonade at your shop as a fundraiser, alongside your lemon candies, of course. Maximize the opportunity for PR, but submitting a press release to the local media and encourage the kids and their families to invite relatives and friends to visit your shop and support their cause.

RCI member, Stephen Libs Finer Chocolates of Evansville, Indiana shared this great idea, including the products they incorporated into their lemonade stand, at Candy Clinic during the 2015 Fall Regional Conference in Maine. Members can click here to login and view a video of the presentation by Marjorie Libs of Stephen Libs Finer Chocolates on our website.

Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business. Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tip #198: 4 Things to Consider Before Succession Planning

Successful business acquisitions for both parties are often the result of strategic planning and preparations made many years before the business goes up for sale. Financial advisers will recommend the planning process starts at least two to five years prior to listing the business for sale, with the intent to make your business appealing to potential acquirers.

In this excerpt from Building and Selling a Successful Business, an education session lead by Andy Charles and Erin Collins of Haven’s Candies during RCI’s 2015 Fall Regional Conference, Charles outlined the following four areas to evaluate when molding a successful business in preparation for acquisition.

  • FinancesThe financial picture of a business being groomed for future succession will look much different than a business that is operating to sustain itself and grow. It is important to position your business in a way that you are able to offer the best possible financial picture to future potential buyers. 

  • Staffing
    A self-sustaining operation is more appealing to potential buyers. Begin training and nurturing your staff to operate the business, whether you are there or not – which, by the way, allows you to take a vacation now and then too.

  • Facilities & Equipment
    A business that has been in operation for any length of time is likely to have less than ideal facilities or outdated equipment, which may have been tolerated through the years because the business was focused on other areas. This doesn’t mean you should build a new manufacturing facility or replace all of your equipment, but consider how these elements of the business will appear to an outsider. Then evaluate what is worth the investment to update and what’s not.

  • Customers and suppliers
    When preparing your business for an acquisition, assess what opportunities and risks exist? What impact does a transition in ownership, both negative or positive, have on those relationships and how will you manage that?
Time and preparation offers the opportunity to position your business in a way that allows for the highest return, as well as the ability to focus on what’s important to you. For Charles, it was crucial to find a successor who would be a good steward of the business, take care of the employees and customers and play an active role in the community. Thanks to the due diligence performed years before the acquisition, Charles was able to find the right fit for his business and complete a successful transition between himself and Collins as the owner-operator of Haven’s Candies.

RCI members: Click here to login and view the complete presentation from Charles on topic of succession planning, as well as Collins’ take on the acquisition and transition process on our website.

Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business. Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tip # 197: Go Wild with Sweet Summertime Merchandising Inspiration

Photo credit:Top: DIY Tropical Backdrop, Brit + Co. Left to right: Chocolate Covered Orange,
  GiveRecipe.com, Pineapple with Sunglasses, PlayBuzz.com, Tropical Bark, Shutterbean.com

Once school is out for the summer, there is no doubt consumer’s social calendar will begin to fill up with pool parties, barbecues and family reunions. Impactful summer merchandising can help your business take advantage of opportunities for impulse purchases of your must-have summer treats!

Learn how to create this tropical
backdrop for your retail display.
An eye-catching, tropical summer-themed window display and photos shared through social media can encourage increased foot traffic in your store regardless of your location! Considering showcasing current products that incorporate tropical flavors, such as citrus, banana, pineapple, coconut and mango. Or introduce a limited edition of tropical-themed treats just for summer. Some options could be as simple as dried pineapple or mango dipped in dark chocolate or a tropical white chocolate bark made with toasted coconut, macadamia nuts and candied fruit, click here for a recipe courtesy of Shutterbean.com.

 
Don’t let your tropical ingredients hide out in the kitchen, let them shine in your retail space too! Pineapples, coconut and colorful citrus can be great, inexpensive props for your merchandising displays. Create a statement with a DIY palm backdrop, click here for step-by-step instructions from Brit + Co.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tip # 196: Coat Marshmallows in Dextrose


The season for s’mores is right around the corner. Variations of this classic summer treat continue to grow in popularity, but don’t let a rise in seasonal demand lead you rock-hard, dried-out marshmallows!

If you’re not enrobing the marshmallow, roll it in dextrose after it is cut to prevent it from drying out. For marshmallows bound for the enrober, adding a little dextrose to the top and bottom will also help the chocolate stick.

Some candy makers use powdered sugar for the same effect, however, the added sweetness from the powdered sugar may make your marshmallows too sweet.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tip # 195: Spice Up the Grill with Cocoa!

Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kick off grilling season by offering consumers something a little unexpectedcocoa!

If you’re a candy maker, you know a thing or two about cocoa. Put your knowledge of chocolate flavors to work and develop your own special blend of cocoa rub. When mixed with salt and spices, cocoa can make for a great, savory rub, which can be used on steak, chicken and pork.

Start by researching a simple recipe for cocoa rub, like this one from TheDomesticMan.com, then do some experimenting of your own to find the perfect mix. This can be packaged in a small, clear candy bag and tied with twine for a homemade and masculine look. If you’ve got some outdoor space by your store, consider firing up the grill and passing out samples to passersby – first, check with your local health department to ensure your following sampling guidelines.

Stir up some buzz, by sharing your new product on social media and write a press release for the local media. RCI President, Brian Pelletier of Kakao Chocolate, shared his recipe for Cocoa Grilled Pork and got invited to do a cooking demonstration for the local news. Talk about sweet exposure! Click here to view Brian’s interview on Fox News in St. Louis.


Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.