Store management comes with a wide variety of tasks. Trial and error is one way to navigate through tricky decisions, or you can do it right the first time. Mitigate those mess ups by learning the secrets to successful store management.
Start with managing yourself
This might sound odd, but you can’t manage a store and your employees successfully without first managing yourself. This isn’t some self-help or new-age call out to do yoga before work or to center yourself with meditation. If that’s your personal path, great, but that’s not what we’re getting at here. To manage yourself, we mean look at your skills and honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Once you know what you’re great at and what aspects you could use some help with, you’ll be able to manage your store and your staff better.
Think about your strengths and weaknesses, then make a plan that accentuates your strong points, but also makes room for staff to help you in your weaker areas. Also, be willing to keep personal logs as you go through your daily work, making adjustments to your self-evaluation. It were not a “one and done” situation; your self-management should be ongoing and evolving with you.
Check your tone and radiate respect
This secret is two-fold: respect for you and respect for your staff. Set your tone to one of confidence in your skills (see above) and confidence in your staff to be able to do their jobs properly without you hovering over them the whole shift. When your employees feel you truly know your own strengths and that you trust them to do their jobs, they’re more likely to work hard for you.
Of course, you want to be in a role of authority, but part of being in charge is making your staff feel respected and appreciated. It needs to be more than words, though. Show your staff you trust them and appreciate their hard work by rewarding and acknowledging them. This can be done through announcements, employee newsletters, certificates of recognition, and small gifts. While you recognize individuals, don’t forget to acknowledge the staff as a whole, too. Staff events, a BBQ, or a holiday party are all good ways to show them you appreciate and respect what they do. That, in turn, will increase their respect for you.
Organize everything to avoid hassles down the line
Organization goes further than physically organizing your store and inventory. It stretches all the way down to day-to-day management of employee tasks… and your own. Specialized software is a game-changer here. Productivity software helps keep track of every aspect of your store, your inventory, and your employees. Assign tasks through easy-to-use digital checklists; keep detailed employee records, including any corrective action; check reports and audits with ease. These are all time and money-saving tools that should be a part of every business. Spend less time shuffling papers, and more time managing your store by harnessing technology. For more information on productivity software in business, check out this article.
Invest in quality training to retain the best staff
It’s frustrating to spend time and money on training new employees, only to find they’re a bad fit or they just up and quit one day without warning. Avoid this headache by hiring only the best candidates who have a history of loyalty and trust, and then invest in quality training. Initial training is often quick and on-the-job, often pushing new staff right into the fray before they feel comfortable with the new environment. Mitigate that stress by providing on-going training and feedback as your new employee gains more confidence. That feedback should also extend to your more seasoned and experienced staff, too.
This secret to successful store management leans on the tone and respect section above. When giving training or feedback, be sure your tone is one of respect as well as authority. Confident managers spread a feeling of confidence to their employees, but one that speaks harshly or that seems to be talking down to employees only makes the staff feel invalidated and unimportant. Even if you must take corrective action with an employee, do so with respect and invite open communication.
Be ready to evolve and change
You’ve put a lot of time and effort into crafting the perfect recipe for success, and your store is truly booming. But you’ve noticed a slow downward trend recently, and you’re worried it will continue. What do you do?
You evolve. Sticking to your guns, as they say, isn’t the right move here. Just because your plan and procedures worked beautifully six months ago doesn’t mean they’ll continue to work forever. While you should be ready to change and evolve in response to emergency situations or fast changes in the industry, you can reduce the stress and negative impact of those changes by planning ahead.
This is where software can help, once again. If your store has been using productivity software for a while, it’ll be easy for you to see the trends over time and even predict what could be coming around the corner. That makes planning much easier. If you’ve just started using productivity software, don’t worry. You can still use it to track what’s happening right now and help your future self-make more efficient adjustments.
Open communication with employees and tap into an underused resource
Too many times store management has overlooked one of their biggest resources and ended up regretting it. Don’t overlook your staff and their valuable input. While you, the manager, may have a great overall view of the company, your employees will have a closer, more detailed view of their departments. It’s always a good idea to open the lines of communication with your staff to get their input on how the store is running, what the customers are thinking, and if they have any suggestions to help the store grow.
You don’t need a degree in business or experience as a store manager to have fantastic and innovative ideas. Tap into your employees’ desire to succeed and listen when they talk. You could end up with some great suggestions that propel your store to the next level, and you’ll improve morale and a sense of pride among your staff.