Optimistic about your future

I visited two retailers 116 miles apart earlier this year. One was taking over his family’s business from his parents and was full of new ideas on how to build on its award-winning present. The other was celebrating 10 years since he opened his first shop, which had expanded from 250 square feet to over one thousand, plus the addition of six other stores.

Both were welcoming, keen to get advice on everything and to share the areas of their businesses where they were doing well and the areas where they wanted to improve. Both believe that the secret of success is to give the customer what they want.

As entrepreneurs they are willing to learn wherever they can and to partner with whoever they can. Just as engineers share ideas on how to build a better bridge and a safer bridge so that society moves forward, so independent retailers benefit from sharing ideas with each other and working with their key suppliers.
The Independent Achievers Academy brings this all together in an easy-to-use format that means that one good idea can be copied in thousands of local shops to the benefit of shoppers everywhere. This workbook has been put together to introduce you to the ideas that are shaping success and to make it easy for you to
take part.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 13.14.35

Nick Shanagher, Managing director

I am delighted that Caroline Cronin is leading the Academy programme this year. Her experience in delivering profit-boosting projects in stores around the UK and in overseeing the Academy in Action visits for the past few years makes her the ideal person to be your first point of contact. Caroline is passionate about helping independent retailers to achieve excellence and to grow their profits. Read on, join up and take part.



We are constantly told by retailers that building networks with peers and suppliers is the most effective way to further their businesses. At the IAA, we understand that time pressures can often scupper the very best of intentions and that this may not always be possible. Our aim is to open up this world to you by offering advice, store assessments, in-store help and by generating a culture of sharing ideas.

We want you to be able to use the Academy as a reference tool for best practice. Learn how other retailers have succeeded and be inspired to develop the strengths of your business.

When you feel confident to shout about your own successes, turn to the back pages to find out how you can enter yourself for Academy assessment and receive detailed, unbiased feedback on your store.

If you don’t want an assessment but want to be part of the Academy and receive the support we offer, you can sign up online. This year we are launching ‘Academy Plus’; a loyalty scheme that offers additional tools to retailers in our Academy network.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 11.54.07By showing commitment to best practice, we can help raise standards across the independent channel together, and future-proof it for tomorrow’s shoppers.

Caroline Cronin
Event Producer
020 7689 3369

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Dates for your diary

  • 27 June – Assessment entry deadline

  • July – Notification of success

  • 28 July – 11 Aug – Mystery shop in-store assessments take place

  • Early Sept – IAA Top 100 announced

  • Late Sept – Finalists are announced

  • 26 Nov – IAA Gala Dinner 2014