I was talking with a writer for Yarn Market News the other day. First off, yes, there is a publication dedicated to the yarn retailer. And an annual trade show and conference. Who knew? She wanted my opinions on opening a second location as a couple of her readers had their viewpoints.
My advice? Make sure things are running well in your first location before you even consider a second location.
Many entrepreneurial retailers get into the retail game because they have a passion. A passion for dance turns into a dance retail concept. Ditto for beauty, or toys, or belts and bags. And yes, even yarn. But passion only gets you so far. You can still be passionate, but unless you’re going to clone yourself, you cannot physically be in two locations at the same time. And that means you need to have an efficient operation so the store can run itself in your absence.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
An operations manual is your reference guide and your employee’s best friend.
If you don’t have an operations manual, you should. It works even if you only have one store as you’re invariably out of the store at times when it’s open.
Just about any daily tasks that someone needs to know how to do should be included in your manual:
- What steps are needed to open or close the store?
- How do you close out the register at the end of the night?
- When are breaks taken and for how long?
- What if I want to switch my shift with someone else? How does that work?
- Are employees involved in shipping? Or receiving orders? How does one do that?
Creating the manual can be daunting. It’s best to start with the critical functions you need someone to do and then build the manual out in chunks. You could tackle opening and closing checklists as one “to do” and move on from there.
The key is be diligent. And to not let a day go by without adding to the manual. Before you know it, you’ll have your manual completed and be on your way toward efficiently and effectively opening your second location.
As for my other thoughts on that, stay tuned as I’ll cover those in the coming days.
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