Things I wish I had known as a store manager and owner


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As a speaker and consultant I often draw on my past experiences as an owner, manager, and retail executive. Although I know I did a lot of things right, I can also look back and see how much better I could have been if only I had known then what I know now.

In the spirit of shared learning, here are three things I wish knew then that might help you now.

1. ACTION is the key to success. I was great at focusing on the sales goals, but I don’t believe I focused enough on what ACTIONS my staff could take that day and week to be more successful. Like a lot of people, I talked a lot about what we could do to be better, but I don’t believe I distilled it down to a daily ACTION.

If only I had known that I should have communicated to my staff what I EXPECTED to SEE or HEAR them do differently with the customer that day, and then helped them do it.

2. Training is a means to the solution, and not the solution itself. Whenever there was an issue I automatically assumed that the staff needed more training. It was my first response to any problem. If Bose Wave Radio sales weren’t what we wanted them to be, we needed to do a training. If the sales didn’t improve, we obviously needed a different training. I’m exaggerating, but not by a whole lot.

If only I had known that the solution was successful application of the skill and knowledge learned in the training. Setting expectations, observing staff and giving them feedback, and holding people accountable to demonstrate the expected behaviors were also important means to changing results. While I did focus on these things, I didn’t do it enough.

3. Good and great employees can be even better. Like so many managers, I thought that only “problem” employees needed frequent coaching. As long as a person was doing his/her job I didn’t need to give much feedback.

If only I had known that the goal of coaching is to help everyone, not just the underperformer. I was pretty good at creating a development plan for all employees, but I didn’t give people praise and feedback as it pertained to their development plan.

Here are four things that I know helped me be successful.

1. Only a happy and engaged staff can deliver an extraordinary experience. I knew that it was vital my staff have fun at work and look forward to doing their jobs.

2. I did what I expected of my employees. I knew that people learned more from what I did than from what I said. I may not have been the best sales person or the fastest person on the POS, but I could keep up.

3. I immediately addressed issues that divided the team. I knew that if my staff didn’t work together we would struggle to achieve our goals. I didn’t much enjoy confronting differences between employees, but I hated falling short of goal even more.

4. My staff always knew where we stood against the sales goal for the week, month, and year. I knew that if a team isn’t pushing for an end result they will quickly default to simply clerking customers.

So let me ask, what do you know that is vital to your success?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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