Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tip #87: Partner with Local Schools

This week we've got a great tip to help you expand your brand’s reach in your area: partner with local high schools and universities to create products using their colors and/or logos for sports teams and other extracurricular activities.

Because logos and mascots are typically trademarked, we suggest first talking with a representative from your local schools to request permission for use. If you receive permission, the possibilities are limitless, from using transfers of their logo on chocolates and truffles to using the logo or mascot on product packaging just to name a few applications.

If you’re not able to use logos and mascots, there are still opportunities for expanding your reach by using the color schemes. By pairing confections with the colors (i.e. red and white jelly beans) you can still create a fun display area to encourage support of your local elementary and high schools and universities.

Looking for how you will get the word out once you have these great themed products for purchase? Connect with your local Parent Teach Associations (PTA), even providing them with coupons and fliers to distribute at their meetings or via their email distribution list. Additionally, you could send mailers and get in contact with fraternities and sororities at your local university or college.

If you have additional ideas or success stories for partnering with local schools, please leave a comment below!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tip #86: Get Ready for World Chocolate Day

Did you know World Chocolate Day is in two weeks (September 4)? This week our tip is for you to get ready for this fun candy holiday that has great potential to draw a crowd to your store.

Meet with your team to make a plan. Plan for: extra production so you don’t run out of chocolates, in-store specials and promotions, ample employee coverage on the floor and creative ways to get customers in the doors to buy your chocolates.

Promote the great specials and products you’re going to feature on World Chocolate Day. Some ideas to promote your celebration of this holiday include: post great pictures on Facebook, create your email marketing campaign, get customers to help spread the word and consider sharing chocolates with local radio shows for listener prizes.

Stock and also merchandise your store well so that chocolate items are the feature products everywhere your customers look on World Chocolate Day. If you don’t already, consider giving out free samples to encourage passers-by to come into your store and discover a wonderful world of chocolate.

At the end of the day you’ll be able to high five your staff and enjoy the fruits (chocolate-covered, of course) of your labor!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tip #85: Enrobe Square Pieces Corner First

This week we have another quick and easy tip to help you make quality confections. If you are enrobing square confections (i.e. toffee, marshmallow squares, etc.), send them through your enrober corner first. Your products will receive better chocolate coverage from the fountains on the enrober and you will decrease the chance for bubbles to appear on the tops.

Do you have a quick and easy enrobing tip? Please share it with us in the comments below!

Connect with us! Have you liked Retail Confectioners International on Facebook or followed us on Twitter? We love to keep in touch with fellow confectioners through social media. Like or follow us and we’ll like and follow your business back!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tip #84: Four Tips for Succession Planning Success

Succession planning is one of those business items that no one wants to attack but no business can afford not to. Many owners and managers don’t want to face the fact that they will not always be there to lead the organization. Others are afraid of the inherent confrontation and decisions to be made in the succession planning process. Regardless of the reason, succession planning is too important to your business to leave unaddressed. To help you get started, this week’s tip is four in one: Four Tips for Succession Planning Success.
  1. Take time to make a plan. This may sound obvious but so many businesses just coast onward in hopes that they will have someone in place when the time comes, or worse they assume the leader in place will always be there. Get out your calendar and make time for succession planning.
  2. Expect emotions. Whether you’re in a family business or not, you can safely expect to encounter emotions when moving through the succession planning process. If you expect emotions, you can pre-empt them and focus on communicating through them.
  3. Utilize objective third parties. Because you expect emotions, it’s valuable to have an objective third party as part of the process. He or she can help you think of things in a new, different way and hopefully come to the best conclusions for the company, not just one or two subjective and outspoken individuals.
  4. Make it ongoing. Don’t just develop a plan and then not touch it until the moment comes to name a successor. Continue to revisit the plan and make adjustments. The plan should be referred to along the way as you select a successor and prepare that person to take your place.

Additional succession planning resources may be found on the International Succession Planning Association (ISPA) website. A representative from ISPA presented at our 2012 Spring Regional in Jacksonville, Florida and shared additional resources just for RCI members. (Members of RCI may access these worksheets and resources as part of past education session links by signing in to the RCI website.)

Has your business been through a succession planning process? If you have additional tips to share from your experiences, leave them in the comments below.

RCI Members: Each 2012 issue of Kettle Talk, our quarterly membership publication, included a series on succession planning. RCI members may view digital copies of the publication by signing in to the RCI website. Then navigate to Member Resources, Publications and click on Kettle Talk.