I was sitting in a fairly large meeting at a client yesterday and realized as we went through the meeting that the owner is stuck in a “this is the way we do it and this is what I think” mentality. The company’s employees have new ways of doing things and great ideas too. Instead of ceding to this very loyal group of employees, the owner digs their heels in and refuses to budge on what I consider dumb dumb stuff (it doesn’t have an impact on the business other than to make it operate more efficiently and it’s not going to break the bank to make these changes).
The point is that change needs to happen at this company and most companies. Employees need to be moved into other jobs because they’re not proficient at the jobs they’re doing. Misconceptions about vendors abound with the owner believing that the company is never at fault and it’s always a vendor issue. And on and on and on.
This owner lacks intellectual honesty. That is, they are unable to open up their mind. While they may listen and nod approvingly, they don’t hear what the employees are saying.
This is classic sole proprietor mentality – “This is the way I do it.”
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Your store team is the orchestra and you are the conductor. It’s time to act like a conductor and empower your employees. You don’t know how to play the violin or the bassoon, but you know what kinds of sound they make and you can read music. Your job is to ensure every instrument is doing their part to make the orchestra sound as good as possible.
It ultimately comes down to relying on your employees to do the heavy lifting. Ten employees lifting together are much stronger than one owner lifting alone. Most small retailers don’t have enough time – there’s never enough time to do what you need to do for the business. And most small retailers won’t give up any control. It becomes this downward spiral. I have too much to do so there’s never enough time and since I don’t have enough time, I can’t get everything done. And around and around it goes.
Are you doing everything from ordering merchandise to writing the schedule to paying the bills? It’s time to begin growing your team. Believe it or not, a lot of people want to become professional retailers. You can grow your retail empire through internal development. Here’s how to do it.
Sit down with each employee and find out their likes and dislikes as well as their skill set. Are they interested in developing a career in retail or is this a job while they go to college or a second job to earn some extra cash? You need both types of employees but focus on the ones who want to make a career out of retail. You can even dole out small areas of responsibility to the part-timers.