“Growing Small: How to Manage, Market and Measure Your Way to Retail Success in 90 days! Even if You Have No Time or Money” promises to help retailers earn more money for their marketing and management buck using a 90-day marketing and business performance boot camp session without a large investment in time or extra money.
What “Growing Small” is About
The author, Angel Cicerone, developed the main concept for “Growing Small” from a 90-day program she created during the worst possible time, the early years of the recession. Cicerone, a B2B business development consultant, got the push to launch the program from retailers while at a networking event. Because she wasn’t from a retail background, Cicerone focused on the basic principles that helped her in the B2B world.
“Growing Small” was the fruit of that effort.
Because the book is centered around a deadline, Cicerone dispenses with formalities and dives right into business. She outlines what each section of her content will offer the reader (along with a heads-up on the homework you’ll do for each chapter), walks them through those modules and then wraps up with a plan that ties it all together. Each chapter focuses on a particular aspect of retail business — such as signage — along with very specific advice on how to improve that aspect. (For example, Cicerone isn’t a fan of taped signs!)
The focus of “Growing Small,” as Cicerone states right from the beginning, is not to become the largest retail owner in your industry or area, but to manage what you have with excellence. “Growing Small” focuses on the changes that retail owners can implement with short notice and no cost (or minimal cost, in most cases).
Small to medium-sized retailers, she suggests, have a lot more marketing and branding options at their disposal than they may fully appreciate. By capitalizing on those options, a retailer can focus on building a sustainable business, not just a surviving one.
Best Part About “Growing Small”
The best part of “Growing Small” is the “crisis support” the book offers.
Like an emergency room triage, this section of the book isolates specific problems that need to be addressed and offers specific help addressing them. The author displays a detailed knowledge of retail and small business ownership without getting too bogged down in unnecessary detail.
“Growing Small” is a fast and action-oriented read which can be followed in check-box fashion by a retail manager or owner who may not find this kind of help in other resources.
What Could Have Been Done Differently
The most obvious feature of the book that was not sufficiently addressed was the actual “90” in the 90-days plan. The format of the book actually differs (in a good way) from other titles in the “build x business in x days” category. There is no “Day 1, Day 2” format. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to complete the book’s program in 90 days, but it may be a little disheartening to readers who want more step by step guidance than provided.
Why Read “Growing Small”
“Growing Small” is a breath of fresh air for small business owners in the retail industry. Most marketing and business advice books for this sector are geared toward retail giants. This book attempts to fill the gap with focused writing that breaks down abstract concepts into concrete steps. The book then attempts to order these steps into a comprehensive marketing plan, which is needed in a world of ever-increasing marketing detail.
“Growing Small” also steers away from the “grow as big as possible” mentality and instead brings business back down to its basics. Cicerone touches on issues that are within the immediate realm of busy (and often overworked) retail owners. For the effort and the detail, this book might serve as an excellent check-up when planning retail marketing.
About the Author
Angel Cicerone (@growing_small) is a business development consultant and founder of Tenant Marketing, a retail consulting and training company. She was inspired by her father, who left his job and started his own business.