Stradigo

Strategy for A Small Local Retail Business

With Camilla & Johan Hallbäck

Do small retail brick and mortar stores benefit from writing a one-page strategy? That was the question we hoped to answer. We invited the Pannacotta Home & Kitchen owners Camilla & Johan Hallbäck on a call to talk about the topic Strategy For A Small Local Retail Business. How does it feel to create a strategy for the first time, and can it lead to some concrete benefits? Watch this interview to find out!

Profile picture of Camilla Hallbäck & Johan Hallbäck as the owners of Pannacotta Home & Kitchen in front of an indigo and black background.

It was a huge eye-opener, the whole process. And, because I, we didn’t think about it before.

Camilla & Johan Hallbäck

Owners — Gift Shop, Small Local Retail Business

Strategy for A Small Local Retail Business

Key Topics In The Interview

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Interview Transcript

Markus Westerlund: Welcome Johan & Mille Hallbäck! Oh, fantastic to have a couple here, couple in this interview. I’m so happy that you wanted to do this, in spite… you are just entrepreneurs both of you and you have this small retail shop, fantastic retail shop, for home and kitchen, gift shop.

Johan & Camilla Hallbäck: *laughter* Thank you for inviting us!

Markus Westerlund: Yeah, and you know always when I come into your shop, I live in a small town here together with you. I think your shop is the most fantastic one I have seen. Because every item in the shop, you are able to tell a story. And they are all special. Everything is special.

Camilla Hallbäck: You are very kind Markus!

Markus Westerlund: Yeah, but hey guys, could you little bit tell about your backstory, the shop and yourself. It could be interesting.

Johan Hallbäck: I can start. I worked for 20 years in the hotel business as a manager in the food and beverage side. And then suddenly in the late 90s we had a change in the ownership. So, I had to think and find something else to do. So, instead of buying things to the hotels I went to the other side, start selling for a wholesaler to the hotels in Finland. I worked there for 3 years. And then…

Camilla: And then at that point I was sort of in between jobs. Didn’t know what to do, and then one of our friends had a shop. A little bit similar than ours now. And then she simply had to close her shop and she actually encouraged us to open a shop. So, we did.

Johan: Here we are now.

Camilla: And the rest is history.

Markus: The rest is history.

Johan: Since 2005.

Markus: Yeah, and you know, because I love to come to your shop, and speak also rumors and things like that, but then I realized one day that “Hey, I want Mille and Johan to try this strategy thing!”. Have you ever thought that you would need a strategy in your business?

Camilla: Sadly not.

Johan: No, no.

Camilla: We should have.

Johan: To be honest we just worked everyday and try to find new ideas. Never took the time to sit down and think about the whole business.

Camilla: So it was actually such a good thing that you actually came, so we are very thankful for that.

Markus: Yes, and you said yes immediately, which was interesting. And you know, today I had a meeting with one client and he said that every entrepreneur and small micro company should have the right to have a strategy.

Johan: I totally agree.

Camilla: Absolutely.

Markus: He said it’s a big mission for you to give them the right to have a strategy. Why would only, you know, big companies have the right to have a strategy? So, I think its so nice that you took the challenge. Now, let’s talk about how was the thing, you was one of the first to try out this strategy crash course. You had this worksheet and you had these videos. Tell me a little bit, how did it go?

Johan: First we sat down and it took a while because we had to first read everything in English and to find out how to work with this sheet. But…

Camilla: Yeah, maybe it was sort of a small language problem in the beginning but then after a while we, you know, got it and then it went quite smoothly then.

Markus: Yeah, and do you remember the parts, there was the purpose part first. Why are you on the market? And how was it to answer that, those questions?

*laughter*

Johan: I think we needed to write something there, and then we were thinking is this the right thing to put down on paper and…

Camilla: We were a bit, you know, insecure in the beginning, but then, you know just took some, you know. We had to talk about it, you know.

Markus: You took some beer, and then it started to.

Johan: Yes, and wine. Yes.

Markus: Yeah, and also on the video course I tried to say everything is ok in the beginning. It’s just to write something, and then you iterate later and make it better. And, then you came to the goals part and you started to write down the goals. What do you remember about that?

Johan: We had to…

Camilla: We have the great paper here.

Johan: We are so old so we can’t remember.

*laughter*

Camilla: Um…

Johan: Yeah, we wrote six goals here.

Markus: Yeah, and I remember Mille. You told me that you asked yourself all the time, that are these good goals?

Camilla: Yeah.

Johan: Exactly.

Camilla: Yes, because it was a new thing, you know. So, I felt insecure. But then, you know, after getting like the first ones. You know, focus on the whole thing and getting the first ones done. Then it was, you know, flowing.

Markus: Yes, so you had it in your head. But it was not kind of structured there. So…

Johan: And it’s more difficult in the beginning to put on paper.

Markus: Yeah, it is yeah. And then you grouped them under the focus areas. And you got to set the focus areas. Was it four ones you had?

Johan: Four focus areas, yes.

Camilla: Yeah.

Markus: And how was it to group the goals under the focus areas? Was that difficult? Or how was it?

Johan: You mean on the last pager?

Markus: Yeah, on the 1Pager.

Camilla: Yeah, but on the focus areas, the four ones. Um, no. For us, you know, with a small shop, we can’t have that many.

Markus: Yeah, that’s exactly true.

Camilla: So, do you want us to tell about it?

Markus: Well, no I think it’s more the principle than how it was to work with the tool. It’s not the substance actually. But you can mention what kind of focus areas did you have. Maybe that’s interesting.

Johan: Better marketing.

Markus: Better marketing, ok that was the number one.

Johan: Products.

Markus: Better products. All right, products!

Johan: Loyalty customers. And good customers.

Markus: Loyal customers.

Johan: Yes.

Camilla: And then cost-effective purchases.

Markus: Okay, yeah. That’s of course very important for you. So those were the focus areas. And then finally you got it on 1Pager. Can you show how the Pager looks like?

Johan: You mean the final result or?

Markus: Yeah. That’s it! There it is.

Johan: Translated. Swedish.

Markus: Yeah nice. *laughter* In Swedish. Yeah. *laughter*

Johan: So, it’s very easy to use as a working tool.

Markus: Yeah, and I remember next day, when you did this, I came to your shop, because I was so curious. So, I came to your shop and I asked Johan, he’s called, by the way, Häbä. I asked Häbä: “Hey, what was the number one point that you learned yesterday?” And, do you remember what you answered me?

Johan: Yes, I answered we have to start to do video, videos from our shop.

Markus: Yeah.

Johan: Video marketing.

Markus: And I think, I was so pleased when you answered that. Because, I thought it was quite a big thing. It’s a big thing!

Camilla: Yeah.

Markus: It’s a big thing. And then I asked Mille the same. And do you remember what you said? I remember.

Camilla: What did I say?

Johan: You said it was an eye-opener.

Camilla: Eye-opener. Yeah, that’s what I said. It was a huge eye-opener, the whole process. And, because I, we didn’t think about it before.

Markus: Yeah.

Camilla: Obviously we should have.

Johan: Yeah.

Camilla: But now it’s really, you know, was like WOW!

Markus: Yeah, and I also remember that we have to be more active. That I remember that you said.

Camilla: Yes.

Markus: Yeah. Ok, and then, so now you have the strategy there. It’s quite fresh. So now comes the questions, that how do you think you could use it?

Johan: The page?!

Markus: Yeah. How could you use this now as a tool?

Johan: Use it. We have it in our shop, visible. Because we have a small shop, so we have it there, we should use it every week. We should look at it and think about these things.

Markus: So, how many goals did you say that you have there listed now under the focus areas? Four focus areas.

Johan: Four focus areas. Underneath we have ten together.

Markus: Yeah, ten is quite much usually and four is even quite much. So, maybe you could think of still. How many of those ten are active now?

Johan: Maybe four.

Markus: Yeah, but that sounds good in my ears. Because that means that you are focusing on those now first and the other ones in the backlog pile.

Johan: They are waiting.

Markus: They are waiting because nobody can do ten things…

Camilla: Things are active.

Johan: They are waiting to be implemented sooner or later.

Markus: Yeah, and of course there is all the time the operative work, that grants the processes, that you have, to serve the customers and so on.

Camilla & Johan: That’s the main thing. And.

Markus: That’s the main thing. So, there is a little bit time for the development, but not much.

Johan: Yeah, but they are still going together.

Markus: Yeah, they are going together. Yeah, so that was nice Häbä, that you said that maybe even a weekly. What I’ve learned that you should in a way have a fixed time when you have a kind of meeting with yourself.

Camilla: Yes.

Johan: Yeah, that’s, you should put it in your calendar. But it’s not something to do, but you should.

Markus: You should, but I really recommend. Maybe you don’t have to do it every week, but it’s good if you do it every week. In our small company we have a weekly meeting.

Camilla: Yes, we should do that! We start it now Markus!

*laughter*

Camilla: Yeah!

Markus: So now, my last question to you is that, all the people that are looking at this and have a small retail local business. What is your recommendation? Should you, should they try a strategy or not?

Johan: Immediately go and book this! And buy it!

Camilla: Absolutely! It was, well like we said, an eye-opener. It has helped us, so much!

Markus: Yeah.

Camilla: Definitely.

Markus: Hey, thank you folks. You are sitting in your living room.

Johan: It’s almost empty because we had a small renovation here, so.

*laughter*

Johan: Some of these are still waiting.

Markus: Yeah, and have you had this kind of video conferences before, recording the meeting like this?

Johan: No, this is the first time.

Camilla: So that’s why we are a bit maybe not so good at it.

Johan: I had to wait 55 years to get the first video conference.

*laughter*

Johan: You can always learn something new.

Markus: Yeah, that’s true. Hey, thank you friends. Just love. And thank you for bothering to do this. It’s a little bit nervous, isn’t it?

Johan: Welcome to the shop! We have lots of new things!

Markus: And still I want to say that you have to make these videos about your wonderful products. Because we buy everything from you. Every time you show us something new that you have found and then there comes the story.

Camilla: You are one of our best customers, Markus.

Markus: Thank you. Thank you. Can you talk slower so it lasts longer?

*laughter*

Johan: Yes.

Markus: Hey, thank you! Very much. Bye bye!

Camilla: Bye bye!

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Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.