This is a series of proven, data-driven best practices to help grow sales and improve the profitability of your local business. It’s a constantly growing resource of practical advice to eliminate real-world barriers to growth.

I’ve always been passionate about local businesses, but I didn’t fully understand the challenges they face until my wife and I opened a bakery/cafe in 2018. I had previously managed a $1B product line at Google, but managing this business was way harder.

But why? After getting to know many local business owners over the years, I discovered three primary reasons:

  • You are constantly forced into reactive mode due to endless issues with personnel, suppliers, equipment, customers, etc. There’s little time to proactively focus on implementing ideas to make your business more successful.
  • There is a lack of practical, actionable guidance for a business of your size. There are resources like Facebook forums, SCORE webinars, etc., but hunting for useful ideas is time-consuming.
  • Technology solutions are narrowly focused on solving tactical needs (payroll, scheduling, inventory, etc.) rather than identifying strategic opportunities to grow your business.

So, I set out to fix this. This series of strategies and tactics, as well as the optional Sprk™ app, are the result of this ongoing effort.

These are proven, data-driven best practices for your business. They’re a constantly growing resource of practical advice to eliminate real-world barriers to increasing sales and profits.

Target Audience

While all small businesses will benefit from these strategies and tactics, the primary focus is product-oriented local businesses like restaurants, cafes, bakeries and retail shops. Service-oriented and online-only businesses can just skip topics not relevant to them.

The Sprk™ app is exclusively available for Square and Clover POS users, but it is not required to benefit from these best practices. This app was created because few well-designed, affordable analytics tools are available. This includes the free POS reports that are designed for accounting rather than optimizing business performance. Screenshots in these articles are from Sprk™, but you can use whatever analytics tool works best for you.

Source of Best Practices

At Google, I led a team of consultants and data analysts that continuously ran experiments to identify opportunities for big businesses (Amazon, P&G, Walmart and many others) to profitably grow sales using Google products. This team often had a deeper understanding of how Google works than the engineers who built those products. The reason is simple: data-driven experiments unlock the secrets of “black box” systems (like Google Search) that even its creators don’t understand.

We identify proven best practices by applying this same approach across thousands of local businesses. We then add content and features to the Sprk™ app to simplify implementing these strategies and tactics.

Organization of Best Practices

There is value in reading the content from start to finish, but you’re welcome to skip around to topics most relevant to your business. However, even if an article covers a topic you know well, you might still find a unique perspective that you’ll find helpful. The articles are concise and easy to scan, yet still filled with ideas you might not have heard before.

Here’s a quick summary of each section:

Next Steps

As mentioned, we’re continually adding new content, so please follow us on X (Twitter) or Facebook to get notified when it’s released.

If you have ideas for topics you’d like to see covered here – including real-world problems you’re facing – please let me know. I created this content for you, so I want it to evolve to become your go-to resource for helping your business succeed.

Steven Roth, Founder of Sprk™

Next Up: A Fresh Perspective: See Your Business Through Your Customers’ Eyes