Being a retailer is hard these days. There is non-stop competition, difficulties hiring good help and the accelerating trend that is encouraging more and more people to shop online. While that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to succeed in the retail business, it absolutely makes life harder. This means that retail managers have to be better than ever and do everything they can to succeed. How can you improve as a retail manager? Here are some tips.
Be a Leader
A good part of your job as a retail manager means that you have to lead your employees. To be clear, that means leading by example. You have to exhibit any traits that you want to see in those who work for you. Be the first one in and the last one out. Volunteer to take on extra duties, and never ask anything of an employee that you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. Above all, have a good work ethic and always treat your staff and customers with the respect that they deserve. Remember, your employees will never exhibit these traits if you fail to do so.
Focus on Your Goals
What are the specific goals of your shift? Keep the store running on time? Keep your shelves stocked and customers happy? Recruit new people to your store, or maintain an overall positive attitude? Make sure to have a few concrete, specific goals. Review these goals with your staff on a regular basis. You must always communicate these goals, values, and needs with those who are working for you. No matter what the store is, and no matter the current condition of your business, you should always have specific goals that you are trying to fulfill.
Do Your Research
If you are a retail manager, you can expect to need to put in extra effort in order to assure the success of your business and your shift. That means doing research into the latest trends of retail and your specific industry. Unsure of where to get more information? Go to your local library and check out some of the top rated books on retail management to help you better understand how you can improve as a retail manager. Of course, there is also always the internet, and there is no shortage of blogs, websites or forums dedicated to helping retailers and retail managers succeed. You should also make sure you are staying up to date on the latest technology and developments. Having the right tools for your company is a huge part of your success.
Identify Training Opportunities
There are many retail training opportunities available to help you and your team to improve. Indeed, in some cases, there are even formal certification programs. These pieces of training can help you better track inventory, manage staff, design schedules and interact with customers. Sometimes, these are in-person training. Other times, they come in the form of online classes or webinars. Of course, this also requires supportive management staff. Make sure that your management actively wants you to find training and takes the time to support you in that effort, including by ensuring that someone can cover any missing hours and that you are fairly compensated for attending the training. If they won’t do this for you, you’re wasting your time trying to identify these resources.
Work With Your Chamber of Commerce
Your local Chamber of Commerce can present you with numerous, invaluable ways that you can improve as a retail manager. These include networking to grow your business, find cheaper vendors, identify key community people, engage in free advertising and more. A Chamber of Commerce membership often costs a small fee, but many Chambers reduce that fee for smaller businesses or retailers. You should absolutely seek out more information about your local Chamber. Arrange an appointment with them and see what you can learn about their services and how they can help you. Remember, once you do join your Chamber, it’s up to you to invest your time (and additional dollars) into its many benefits.
Your job as a retailer manager is to do more than do things and keep your store running. It’s also to listen. To that end, survey your boss, employees, and customers. Ask them some very specific questions, what are you doing right, and what are you doing wrong? What can you do better? It’s only by honestly, actively seeking out constructive criticism that you can identify your own faults and find ways to do your job better.
Succeeding in retail requires more talent and work effort than ever before. However, despite these challenges, retail can still be a rewarding and lucrative business. Follow these tips, and you are likely to see major improvements in your business—and that equals more money in your pocket.
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