Store owners throughout the industry have discovered that business critiques from other independent home improvement retailers help them become better operators. Ask a fellow retailer or two to walk through your store, interact with employees and study your financials. They may highlight problem areas you haven’t noticed and show you how to make strengths even stronger. Do your own critiques as well, in a consistent, disciplined way so continual improvement is built into your company culture.

1. Look at your store’s interior appearance like a customer.
Walk through your business from front to back and down each aisle and consider the merchandising, store cleanliness, organization and product outs. Are there better layout options? Is every department well-lit? Are the products creatively merchandised? Do the items on each shelf have their labels facing the aisle? Does your cross-merchandising make sense, and are the items in season? Do you see empty pegboards and messy shelves?

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