How Does a Good Deal Become Great?

by BRA Associate Partner, ESR Commercial ESR Commercial’s strategy is to know what is going to be thought and said 3 conversations in advance. Even before the first call or email, we’re planning on what we’re going to say the next time we speak, and how the person on the other end is going to take what we say and respond to it. It’s knowing when to push and when to step back – something that only comes with many years of experience. Everyone looking to open a store knows the basic, obvious items that make a deal better – cheaper rents, free rent periods, and tenant improvement money. But only those more experienced in the real estate world know the additional factors that can push the deal over the edge into “great deal” territory. These things can include economic factors like the landlord being responsible for part or the entire A/C unit, little or no personal guaranty, and different allocations of security deposits, among hundreds of other options that go into each lease. In one deal in Lexington, Kentucky, the landlord asked for 6 months of security deposit because the owners didn’t have any experience. Because we had done so much business with that landlord in the past, we knew that he would accept 2 months security deposit, with a third month to be applied to the 13th month’s rent. We know that upfront capital is very important to our clients, especially those who are opening up new stores, and saving 4 month’s worth of rent can go a long way into developing any small business. In another deal... read more

It’s Here: 2016 State of Surf Survey!


5 SEO Tips You Can Do Right Now

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, might seem like an impossible-to-crack code. Yet SEO is incredibly important if you want your business to be found online. If your website is optimized for search engines, Google, Yahoo, and Bing will view it as a good source and offer it up to users who are searching for your products or services. If your website isn’t optimized, then it might as well be invisible. For many people, SEO is a full time job. You may think that due to your full-time job as a board retailer, you don’t have time to add SEO to your plate. This is where you’re wrong. Sure, you won’t be able to do all the things a digital marketing professional can accomplish, but everyone has time to make a few small tweaks to their website that will yield big results. Below are five things you can do this week to improve your SEO and make your website rise in the rankings. Try them out and see what a difference they make. 1. Create unique content that people want to read and share. While filling your website with rich content isn’t exactly something you can do overnight, it is something you can start today. If you don’t have a company or business blog, it’s time to launch one! You can write “how to” posts, new product launches, behind-the-scenes information, or gift guides for various holidays. Use specific keywords in the title and first paragraph of your post so readers (and search engines!) immediately know what the post is about. 2. Create internal links within your website. Internal linking helps... read more

How to Target Tourists This Summer

When you’re on vacation in a brand new city, you want to experience the local color of the place, which means eating at the best restaurants, visiting the most beautiful beaches, and seeing the famous sites. You also want to shop at interesting stores for souvenirs or to outfit yourself for adventures at your destination. As board sports retailers, this last point is important. Whether you sell surfboards, skis, or skateboard gear, there’s a good chance you have products someone visiting your city wants and needs. If your store is located in a tourist destination, then there’s an even better chance that many of your potential customers aren’t locals—they are in town for a few days or a few weeks, and they can be a great source of revenue. So how do you reach these tourists and convince them to shop at your store? By tweaking your marketing strategy just for them. These tips will help. Set up a booth at or sponsor a big local event. Whether it’s the county fair, a festival, a concert series, or a competition, the chances are good that someone is traveling from out of town to attend. Tabling at these events and/or getting your logo onto various marketing materials can help you reach this target audience. At the very least, they’ll see your name and think of you later, when they need something you happen to sell. Partner with tourism agencies and services. Get to know the owners of the best hotels in town, talk to the hospitality branches of your local government, and get in touch with your favorite restaurants, attractions,... read more

The Pros and Cons of eCommerce

When most people think about starting an eCommerce store, they get excited about the possibilities. We don’t blame them—eCommerce can seem, for many small business owners, like the answer to their dreams. While it’s true that online stores have benefits, they also present some unique challenges, and it’s important to be aware both sides before diving head in. At Board Retailers Association, we believe retailers can be successful in a variety of ways, as long as they’re informed and make good choices. To help our members launch successful eCommerce businesses, we’ve rounded up a few pros and cons about going this route. Read them, consider them, and then make the choice that best for your business. Pros of eCommerce You don’t need a physical store. One of the refrains we hear when we’re buying a house or starting a business is, “Location, location, location.” And it’s true—if your store is on the wrong side of town or on an inconvenient street, it could cut down on customers. eCommerce stores, which live on the Internet, don’t have that problem. And while you do have to pay hosting fees for your website, they’re usually much cheaper than rent or a mortgage. You have access to a bigger market. This is especially true for businesses that sell niche products, where their audience is already limited. When you have an eCommerce store, it’s easier to reach the people who will love your products, without worrying that your immediate city will be able to support you. You’re open for business 24/7. In today’s world, people want what they want when they want it. Waiting... read more

5 Ways to Maximize Memorial Day Sales

Memorial Day is traditionally observed on the last Monday of May, as a day to honor and remember those who died in active military service. It’s also the unofficial beginning of the summer season, a three-day weekend filled with barbeques, get-togethers with family and friends, and great deals at favorite retailers. This Memorial Day, plan ahead so your business or brand can strike a balance between respectful remembrance and celebratory fun. Need some tips to get started? You’re in luck! Make sure employees are aware of sales and promotions. Your team is your greatest asset, so make sure they’re prepared for whatever form your sales and specials take. Online sales, promotions via social media, coupons in the local paper, a secret password—whatever it is, make sure they know all about it! Email marketing is key—especially if you start early! According to a recent study, the week leading up to Memorial Day is when most businesses send out emails announcing their sales. Beat the crowd and send an additional email ten days to two weeks before the big weekend, so it’s not lost in the shuffle. Remember that the biggest shopping day is that Friday, so time your sales accordingly. Run a social media contest to drum up buzz. Social media contests are ideal for engagement and short term goals, such as a special sale. Keep it simple by asking a question on Facebook or Twitter that is relevant to your products or the holiday. “Where’s your favorite place to skateboard?” or “What’s your go-to barbeque dish?” Reward one random winner with a free gift or a great discount, and... read more

How to Curate a Great Instagram Account

When it comes to the action sports industry, Instagram is a great social network. With over 400 million active users, this visual platform is vibrant, engaged, and a perfect opportunity to advertise your brand or business. Because Instagram is so popular, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. While focused hashtags and witty captions can help, photos are the site’s bread and butter. A great photograph is the best way to get attention, increase likes, and promote your business. Even if you’re not a professional photographer, it’s still possible to take great photos and curate an awesome account. These tips will help. 1. Remember the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is a photography term that will help you create interesting and balanced shots. To understand this rule, imagine an image broken into thirds so it’s made up of nine boxes. Rather than put the focus of your image directly in the center of the image, place it in one of the intersections. This is where a viewer’s eye will naturally land, which makes the photo more interesting. 2. Keep it simple. When you’re posting images of products, you want to avoid the “catalog look”—that is, an image on a plain white background. It’s better to show the product in use or out in the world. That said, you don’t want the background to overwhelm the photo. Anyone looking at your image should be able to tell what you’re advertising. Put the product in the foreground and keep the background unfocused. The viewer will understand the context, while getting excited about the product. 3. Post... read more

The Annual State of Skate Survey is Here!

The annual State Of Skate industry surveys have launched and are already working to gather important, helpful data. In case you’re new to the industry or it’s been a while since you’ve taken the survey, a quick refresher: each year, TransWorld Business takes a comprehensive look at the state of skateboarding through their annual survey. By working closely with IASC and Strategic Market Intelligence their goal is to help gather and provide information on the overall health of the industry. In addition to their retailer survey, they’ll also be aggregating information from skateboard manufacturers, as well as core skaters, to provide insight that retailers can use in their day-to-day business and marketing strategy. This year, they’ve even teamed up with a third-party research agency, which will elevate the data to a whole new level and provide the industry with deeper analytics. As we all know, running a business doesn’t offer a whole lot of spare time. That’s why the State of Skate survey is designed to take only 10-15 minutes of your time. The information you provide and the resulting research findings will assist in building an insightful overview that will help develop your short and long term business plan. The more participants, the greater the insights and resulting value will be to your business. To sweeten the deal, anyone who submits a completed survey will be entered into a drawing to win a free VIP Package to this year’s IASC Summit, May 12-13th, 2016, which includes 3 nights hotel accommodation and one VIP ticket to the Skateboard Hall of Fame. Not bad for 15 minutes that could help your industry and... read more

3 Ways to Market to Millennials

Everyone, it seems, is talking about millennials. What they think, what they do, what they buy, and how they are either saving the world or destroying it. The truth is that every generation changes the world in its own way, and if businesses and brands want to survive, they need to stop lamenting millennials and start embracing them instead. The term “millennial” can include anyone born after 1980 and up to 2004—definitions vary, and will depend on the individual’s experiences. This block of time, however, is a safe bet. Most millennials are tech-savvy, constantly connected, and great at multitasking. They’re passionate individuals who value transparency, collaboration, and their personal time. So what does this mean if you’re a business or brand? Simply put: you need to adapt your message and marketing for this increasingly powerful demographic. Below we’re rounded up three ways to market to millennials effectively. Start incorporating them now and get ready to reap the rewards. Establish meaningful connections on social media. Millennials live at least half their lives online, which means you need to be there too. The tricky part is blending in. You don’t want to sound like a robot that’s just trying to convince people to buy your products. Instead, you need to develop a voice that is consistent with your brand, fits the platform, and engages with the community in a natural and fun way. It may be helpful to look at social media as a way to get to know your customers better, rather than as a place to sell them more stuff. This will gain their trust and encourage them to... read more

The Snapchat Primer You’ve Been Searching For

Social media moves quickly. Just because you’ve mastered Facebook or Twitter doesn’t mean you can stop learning or experimenting. Case in point: Snapchat. It’s the latest social media craze for users between the ages of 13 and 23, and if you’re a business or brand, it’s worth checking out. Today we’re going to explain what it is, how it works, and why it matters. By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll have all the information you need to dip your toes into the Snapchat pool. What Is Snapchat? Snapchat is a messaging app that allows users to take photos or record videos and add text and drawings before sending them to other users. These messages are called “Snaps.” Users choose who can see their Snaps, and also set a time limit for how long their Snaps can be viewed, which can last anywhere between one and ten seconds. After that time is up the Snap disappears, never to be seen again. Snapchat is a strictly mobile app, which means it’s limited to smartphone use, and it’s an easy, simple, and fun way to share messages and communicate with friends. And people actually enjoy this? Do they ever! In May, the mobile app boasted 100 million daily users, 65% of whom uploaded photos. Researchers have even found that people are happier after using Snapchat than they are after using other social media apps, such as Facebook and Twitter. This is because Snapchat feels more like good, old-fashioned, face-to-face communication. Because you share your Snaps with a select group of friends, it’s more personal than broadcasting your life to... read more
2016 Surf Expo Banner Ad