In this month’s Mastermind, we explored marketing budgeting and content ideas, the importance of cybersecurity measures, optimizing your in-store WiFi, and harnessing other tech solutions to elevate your business. We also shed light on the best practices for coaching your staff to peak performance.

Hardware Innovators is about equipping you with the knowledge and tools you need to excel in today’s market. So, let’s roll up our sleeves, pick up our digital tools, and learn how to strengthen your hardware store’s foundation that will empower your team and propel your business to new heights. Let’s dive in!

October Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

Each session had its nuances, but the day’s theme was clear: we have an amazing, collaborative, generous community. Y’all are the stars of this show, and we couldn’t do it without you.

Marketing Mastermind Takeaways:

During our Marketing Mastermind, we kicked off the conversation with the importance of being a part of your local community. It’s important to find the balance between sponsorship commitments and your overall marketing budget. Rather than reducing community contributions, consider offering gift cards instead of cash donations. This approach allows you to maintain a community presence while effectively managing marketing expenses. With a remarkable 60% redemption rate for giveaways, it’s wise to keep an eye out for local sponsorship opportunities to enhance your store’s reach and impact.

When it comes to your overall marketing budget, aim for 2% of revenue, but if you’re just opening your hardware store, it may be closer to 3% to 4%. Diving into the specifics, the target is to spend 50% of your marketing budget on creating compelling content that resonates with your customers. The chart below provides a visual representation of how this allocation can be distributed effectively across various content channels. This budget template might also be helpful. 

When creating your content, consider innovative strategies like small carts for kids and add an in-store scavenger hunt with hidden stuffed bears. To spark some other content ideas, consider engaging contractors in an interview-style conversation and asking them questions outside of their scope of work. For example, ask a plumber what GCFI stands for.

The gift and decor department is doing unexpectedly well. The tip here is to always look at departments with an open mind during acquisitions.  

Don’t forget to leverage Ace’s new budgeting tool, available at acenet. In terms of marketing strategy, always begin at the bottom of the funnel, focusing on retargeting those who already know and love your store.

Builders and Brew’s B2B contractor engagement event concept has been remarkably successful. We’ll soon share templates to help you replicate this achievement in your own local community.

Some other highlights that came up during the Marketing Mastermind was:

General Managers Mastermind Takeaways:

The topic for this month’s General Managers Mastermind was cybersecurity in your hardware store. We talked about how, even with the support of Epicorp, the best practice is to maintain a fully monitored antivirus network that’s active and not passive. One highly recommended solution is Centennial One. This proactive approach to cybersecurity is essential to safeguard your business against potential threats and vulnerabilities. 

In the event of a cybersecurity breach that involves sensitive customer credit card data, be PCI compliant (otherwise, insurance companies can easily weasel out of a payment). Consult with DilSe.IT  for audit information. Be aware that PCI compliance involves a comprehensive set of requirements; be sure you know what insurance companies are asking for.

Avoid the temptation of using personal email for business purposes, as this can create vulnerabilities and data security risks. 

Regular scanning, minimally on a quarterly basis but ideally monthly if feasible, is essential to detect and address potential threats promptly. An annual storewide audit ensures that all aspects of your IT infrastructure remain in check. Segmenting networks is crucial, including credit cards, security cameras, financial staff, etc.

Lastly, we talked about an annual IT investment for each store, which should range between 2% to 5% of your revenue. This includes: 

  • The replacement of technology
  • Network maintenance
  • Cybersecurity 

For other information on IT related tools and tricks, check out these resources:

  • Check out this blog from Andy with
  • This Steven Covey video might be helpful 
  • Insurance to safeguard against cyber attacks
  • Zello is a great communication tool
  • Ubiquity is recommended for hardware.
  • PCI compliance – Audit provided through Dilse.IT 

Owners Mastermind Takeaways:

During our Owners Mastermind, we deviated from our original topic a bit, but it was wildly insightful and an interesting topic! We talked about how strategic planning is not just a buzzword; it should be an annual event. Set a date for your yearly strategic planning session, take it off-campus for a fresh perspective, and gather your team to figure out what you need to do and how to achieve it. As the saying goes, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll get there every time.”

The core of your business should always revolve around the principle that “we exist to serve.” This service extends to your customers, team members, and the community you’re a part of. 

When it comes to managing a successful team, the focus should always be on nurturing talent, not just commanding it. Effective leadership means recognizing that you don’t manage people; you manage inventory and processes. It’s about coaching and empowering your team positively. 

Consider investing in their development and growth, aiming for more than just a minimum of 15 hours of development per employee per year. This investment is your baseline, but true cultural transformation occurs when you inspire your team to excel at their jobs. One strategy is to implement a “team of people” approach, where individuals are collectively responsible for specific tasks, encouraging collaborative problem-solving and shared accountability. 

Regular feedback mechanisms like employee engagement surveys and brand identity surveys are vital tools to uncover recurring themes and develop actionable plans to move your business forward. 

It’s all about continuous improvement and staying aligned with your core values and principles. You can find templated surveys in the library to streamline this process.

Some other highlights on for the Owners Mastermind:

Join Us on November 15th for our Next Mastermind

For November, we’ll have four groups that meet: marketing, GMS, owners, and OSR.

Need help signing up? Send us an email:

Are You On Board?

Does the idea of a monthly meet-up with other hardware stores sound valuable to you? Are you interested in sharing resources, asking questions, and participating with your peers on-demand with an exclusive slack channel?

Join the Hardware Innovators!

Learn more about us here.