We live in tough times as retailers. Not only have our hours been expanded, causing us to be open 65+ hours a week — no more “closed on Sunday”, no more “closed on holidays” (save for Christmas Day), no “more closed at 5pm” — but we’re expected to be available anytime for whatever our business needs.
In a recent article in Business Week Small Biz, the author wrote about his struggles to balance his personal life with his burgeoning small chain of diners.
The author’s solution was to realize that his work life was never going to go away completely and that he needed to create a work-life solution that allowed him to travel seamlessly between the two.
So now he discusses his work at home with his wife. He’s made time to work out in the morning to help him feel better. And that’s about it.
This entrepreneur has succumbed to allowing his work to creep into his personal life. And that’s not balance, that’s resignation.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
You can have a personal life and own a business too.
Just say no!
We all get caught up in our work lives. And it doesn’t matter whether we own a business or work for a corporation. We’ve been taught that unless we’re working 24/7, checking and responding to emails at 5:00am and 11:00pm, taking a conference call at home in our pajamas, that we’re not a model employee.
Get a life!
Having worked at and with several retailers, I am constantly reminding employees or clients that “we’re not curing cancer, we’re selling shampoo (or bats and balls). For the most part, we’re stuck in this cycle of, “If I don’t deal with this right now, the world is going to fall apart.” The truth of the matter is that it can wait. What’s going to change between 7:00pm Monday night and 9:00am Tuesday morning? Not much. Yet we think the world is coming to an end if we don’t deal with it right then and there.
Let it go!
We live in a me, me, me world where we often feel that we’re the only ones who can deal with the issues – from ordering the merchandise to opening the store and more. That’s just not true. Here are some ways to get more “me time.”
- Empower and trust your employees. If you can’t trust them to take on the role of manager or assistant manager, then why did you hire them in the first place? Managers and assistant managers are there to run or help run the business. So why aren’t you letting them? Get them involved – they want to learn and grow. Allow them to run the place and hold them accountable.
- Set the ground rules. Make sure your employees understand when and how you would like to be contacted. Set up a special ring on your phone (e.g. call and let it ring once, hang up, then call back again) or some other way that you’ll know it’s a true emergency. With every client I work with, I make sure they know that I work nights and weekends if it’s agreed upon in advance. Some will email or call at night or over the weekend and I don’t respond. I remind them the next day that I have my personal time and I need them to respect that time. Without fail, they apologize and it usually never happens again. You should do the same with employees, vendors and whomever else invades your personal time.