Retail Tip 116: The TIA Retail Business Assessment—offered free in January—can build sustainable growth for your store

In today’s highly competitive retail environment, with consumers controlling who stays in business and who doesn’t, it’s crucial that you have a firm understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your specialty tennis retail business.

The authors of Nine Shift–Work, Life and Education in the 21st Century warn in their “Second Decade Predictions for the 21st Century” that the “number of retail stores declines by 50% (half) by 2020.” We clearly see this already happening across many different retail segments; just look at the empty retail spaces you probably have in your own communities. (You can learn more about “Nine Shift” at

This is why it’s important—now—that you take a close look at your business. And the TIA can help with its TIA Retail Business Assessment, which provides specialty tennis store owners with a 360-degree view of their businesses. After taking the Retail Business Assessment, you’ll:

* Understand what you’re doing right and where you need to improve.
* Build sustainable growth in profits and not just revenue.
* Build sustainable value in your business.

And now through the month of January, the TIA Retail Business Assessment, normally $200, is FREE for any TIA Retail Member (see box.)

“With today’s challenging and continuously changing marketplace, it's important for tennis retailers to understand what they are doing right and what areas of their business have room for improvement,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “And now is the time for you and your business to start the New Year off right.”

Critical Focus Areas

The entire TIA Retail Business Assessment will take only 20 minutes or less to complete online. The assessment is completely confidential; it is evaluated and scored by independent retail consultant Gluskin Townley Group, which does not share the results with anyone, including the TIA itself. (The Gluskin Townley Group will only communicate with the person who filled out and submitted the Retail Business Assessment.)

The assessment focuses on eight areas important to your specialty retail tennis business:

1. Business Technology and Reporting
2. Financial Benchmarks
3. Store Operations
4. Staff Recruiting & Hiring
5. Ownership & Management
6. Store Environment
7. Marketing & Promotions
8. Customer Service

You don’t have to prepare or review your books or financials before you take your online Retail Business Assessment because we are interested in what you know about your business right now. Once the online assessment is scored, a Confidential Assessment Report is prepared and emailed to the person who filled out and submitted the assessment.

The Confidential Assessment Report you receive will provide your score and the performance level of your retail store. But the most important feature of the report you receive will be the Strengths, Neutral Areas and Weaknesses of your retail store.

Develop a Plan of Attack

After you read through the complete report, go back and take a harder look at the weaknesses. Those are the immediate threats to your specialty tennis retail business, and you should address them as soon possible.

However—and this is extremely important—we don’t advocate attacking the weaknesses of your retail business without a plan. You need to leverage the power of planning by focusing on what you are going to do to correct and turn around the weaknesses uncovered by your assessment.

So, develop your business plan with an immediate focus on your store’s weaknesses, and when they are literally neutralized, or better yet turned completely around into strengths, you can turn your attention to the neutral areas of your business and turn them into strengths as well.

When you feel you’ve turned around or greatly improved the identified weaknesses, go back to the TIA and arrange to take another TIA Retail Business Assessment so you can track improvement and re-do and renew your business plan.

You need to prepare your tennis retail operation for what’s ahead. Make the TIA Retail Business Assessment the first step in planning your future.

For upcoming TIA retail webinars, and to view previous webinars, visit

This is part of a series of retail tips presented by the Tennis Industry Association and written by the Gluskin Townley Group (

FREE Offer For TIA Retail Members

Now is the time to change up your game and start off the new year heading in the right direction. Through the month of January, the TIA, in conjunction with retail consultant Gluskin Townley Group, is offering the TIA Retail Business Assessment (normally $200) for FREE to any TIA Retail Member. Contact Marty Mohar at or 866-686-3036 ext. 704.