I had a great day at this year’s Local Shop Summit that was entitled ‘How To Be Brilliant’. This was the theme of the keynote speaker, Michael Heppell. He challenged the delegate to create a 90 day action plan and take away three ideas to grow sales or improve their business.

He told us that what was good enough 10 years ago is no longer going to be good today. To succeed in today’s difficult economic conditions  nothing less than being brilliant would be enough. It requires massive change and he took the audience through the steps that need to be thought about to make this happen.

These steps included the vocabulary you use, the people you talk to and being willing to leave your comfort zone. He said when setting goals they need to be personal, positive and present, the characteristic of success is positive action.

He ended his talk by inviting the delegates to create their own 90 days of massive action and delegates would not be alone as they could sign up for 90 days of support on his website.

Exhilarating, and I am sure that the delegates were left believing that they can execute a brilliant action plan.

After a great networking break that gave the participants a wonderful opportunity to meet other retailers, manufacturers and suppliers, 5 manufacturers presented what their companies can offer in a partnership with interested retailers. 10 minute presentations by Heineken, Kraft Foods, ITL, News International and United Biscuits all gave great reasons why retailers should talk to them and develop positive partnerships.

The evidence from the 4 retailers who regularly contribute to betterRetailing.com shows that retailer/manufacturer partnerships really do deliver great results and are now an important part of being a brilliant independent retailer.

After lunch it was the turn of 3 fantastic retailers Paul Cheema, Roli Range and Bintesh Amin. They each talked about how they started their retail careers and what they enjoyed about being independent store operators. The audience were shown a video of their fantastic stores, Paul’s store can be seen here, Roli’s will be posted up tomorrow and Bintesh’s next week.

The message that came across from these brilliant retailers is having a well equipped shop is only the start, to be the best you have to give your customers great reasons to shop with you. As Roli Ranger said “be positive and focused, try new things and learn from tradition making it right for tomorrow.”

I feel very inspired after last weeks event and here on betterRetailing we’re going to be taking up Michael Heppell’s 90 day challenge as well as following a number of retailers do the same and reporting on their experiences.