Community News

Clarence coaches retailers for business success

Clarence Property is taking an innovative approach to managing its retail assets, by offering business coaching services to bolster the performance of stores in select regional shopping centres. A twelve month review of the pilot program shows some retailers have almost doubled their revenue or opened a second store – with one tenant reporting an impressive 45 per cent increase in profit compared to last year. Clarence Property managing director Peter Fahey says the program was designed to assist retailers and elevate the performance of assets included in the company’s Westlawn Property Trust. Clarence Property recently commenced its first capital raising in six years for the unlisted Westlawn Property Trust, seeking a new $20 million in capital to assist in funding further acquisitions. Westlawn currently has a $200 million diversified portfolio including 16 commercial and retail properties located between Port Macquarie and the Gold Coast. “A review of our retailers revealed that there were a number of stores in popular neighbourhood centres that had great potential but were still underperforming,” Mr Fahey said. “I realised that it would be much more cost effective and beneficial to upskill managers than source a new tenant if the business failed, so I offered to trial a three month coaching program to select tenants and the results have been phenomenal. “While business owners and our investors are the primary winners, there’s a ripple effect which means other retailers and the wider community benefits from each small business that achieves an increase in profit.” Clarence Property has partnered with business coach Adam Sydenham to deliver the program, which includes a six-month customised course for retailers. Mr Sydenham says he works with each retailer to identify opportunities for growth and ways to maximise profitability. “I find that while most small business owners are passionate and knowledgeable about their product or service, they lack some of the business marketing and management skills and often don’t know how to maximise their potential,” he said. “My job is to equip them with the knowledge and tools to allow them to become capable, self-sufficient managers who understand how to analyse their business to maximise profits.” “Clarence Property has set a benchmark for other commercial property owners and managers by investing in people, who are always the greatest asset of any business and the ultimate key to success or failure.” Hairdresser Karen Seymour, who runs Pure Hair at Yamba Fair Shopping Centre, is the latest success story from the program after increasing her profits by more than 45 per cent. Ms Seymour says since completing the program her business has grown from five to 11 staff and she is now considering taking up extra floor space to meet customer demand for services. “I was pretty green in terms of business management, so I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to work with Adam otherwise I don’t think my business would be where it is now,” she said. “I now have a lot more control over my business – I check my weekly profit and loss statements, manage my time more effectively and have learnt how to improve my communication with staff. “I have set myself goals and targets and I am able to tick them off by using the skills I was taught. I have realised that the smallest changes can make a big difference, and now I’m confident that I can continue growing and expanding my business.”