You probably already have a list of personal New Year’s resolutions written down and posted to your fridge. We know we do!
But have you ever thought of taking some time and doing the same for your retail business? There might be a thousand tasks you plan on accomplishing for your business in the coming year, but these 10 simple (to moderately difficult) tips can set you up for absolute success in 2016!
1. Meet With Vendors Face To Face
When was the last time you actually spoke face to face with one of your suppliers? Yup, we thought that might be case. Though it might seem easier to simply shoot off a quick email or text message to the people who literally ‘bring you the goods,’ building personal relationships with vendors is a huge plus. It’s not only nice to get to know the people behind the merchandise, but can also lead to better service from your suppliers.
2. Take Time Off
Did you take a day off last quarter? And no, a personal day to take care of a sick child or have a root canal doesn’t count. As business owner we know that the amount of work on your plate often doesn’t allow for much rest and relaxation. But taking time to recharge will not only help your personal sanity, but also help you focus better. Which ultimately helps you run a more successful retail business.
3. Streamline Your Inventory Process
If the words inventory and process give you the chills, we understand. Inventory management — though hugely important in a retail business — can be difficult and time consuming. That’s why devising an inventory management process that works for you is so critical to the success of your store. Once you’ve tackled the beast of inventory, you will free up time and energy for more important things, such as spending time with customers and family. Need a little motivation? Check out 5 Simple Ways Your POS Software Can Help Control Your Inventory.
4. Get to Know Your Employees
Spending time with your employees might seem like a given, but you’d be surprised how often storeowners make new hires and then never take the time to get to know their employees. Remember, your staff is the life and blood of your business. And happy staff means happy customers, which means more sales. Find the time to grab coffee with a new employee (or an old one for that matter) and learn what their career and life goals are. You’ll not only foster a healthier working environment, but could discover hidden talents among your employees you didn’t know were there.
5. Become Social Media Savvy
We know that Tweeting and The Gram is not everyone’s cup of tea, but the benefits that social media can have on your business are astronomical. Not sure where to start? Download our Small Business Guide to Social Media to get started. Already tweeting and posting but could use a little help? Check out 5 Ways to Make Your Small Business Social Media Strategy More Effective.
6. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Just because there are 25 tasks that need to be accomplished today, doesn’t mean you need to accomplish all 25. Delegation is a fine art, but once mastered it can free up time and help you take advantage of your most valuable resources: your employees. Leveraging your staff’s hidden talents and enabling them to take on additional responsibilities will make a world of difference for both you and your business. The key is to not feel bad about delegating tasks and to realize that you are doing your employees a favor. You’ll be teaching them a new skill and allowing them to gain additional experience that they otherwise might never have had the opportunity to gain.
7. Update Your Website
Your immediate thought at this point might be: “But I own a brick and mortar retail store!” You’re correct, but you’re also a business existing in the 21st century where 70 percent of Americans seek out reviews and opinions online before making purchases. That means they can be looking at anything from Amazon to a store’s Yelp reviews. And you know what review sites like Yelp link to? That’s right, your website! If your website is unappealing, or circa 1995, who will want to visit your physical store? Invest either the time or money in updating your online presence. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but a clean and modern design will do wonders for your store’s brand.
8. Give Back to Your Community
Along the same lines of getting to know your employees, running a business is all about human interactions and relationships. If your customers and community aren’t familiar with your store’s mission and brand, they’re less likely to frequent your store. A great way to introduce yourself to your community is to give back to those around you. Check out our post on how to give back to the community during the holiday season. It’s a theme that can, and should, last all year round.
9. Automate Your Business
Automating your business is the key to a healthy work-life balance. We can’t stress this enough. And what better time to concentrate on this aspect of your life (and business) than in the New Year? The key to business automation is to start with a few key processes. Ask yourself what needs to run more smoothly to free up more of your valuable time. Then, choose tools and apps that will help you accomplish those goals. Maybe you’re looking to future proof your retail business and are thinking about adopting a cloud-based POS system. If so, great! You can check out our guide on choosing a POS system for a few budget-friendly tips. Not at that point yet, but still looking to update a few key aspects of your business? Check out these apps that can help you run your retail business from anywhere.
10. Optimize Your Space
How many times have you said to yourself, “If only we had more space…” The thing is, you might not have as much space as you’d like, but you probably have more space than you think. It’s all about maximizing the space that you do have. Now is the time to take a page from the realtor’s playbook and learn how to stage your store effectively. Just like you’d stage your house if you were looking to sell, you can stage your store to attract additional customers. Whether that means replacing bulky display cabinets with sleeker more modern furniture, or creating a seasonal accent wall to display outerwear and scarves, the important thing is to know what you’re looking to accomplish and to have a plan going into your redesign. Need a little inspiration to get your creative juices flowing? Check out a few other brick and mortar stores to see how they’ve gotten creative with both their space and their merchandise. Remember, your only limit is your imaginations!