It has been said that small businesses form the backbone of a community. There’s no question that this is a true statement, but in order for it to be 100% accurate, your small business must be an active and engaged member of your community. This means that you need to do everything you can to help everyone in your community grow and prosper. Here are three ways in which you can achieve that.
Raise Money for Charity
There are many ways your business can raise money for charities. You can have collection boxes, donate a portion of sales or simply make contributions. However, keep in mind that there can be many problems with ordinary fundraising if your business wants to raise money for charity. You have to account for all of the money and make sure you keep adequate records. It can also be complicated to raise money while not looking like you are profiting off of the fundraising, so it’s important that you are as transparent as possible when it comes to raising money.
Volunteering is vitally important, particularly for small businesses. It gives you a chance to be present, to get your name out to a large number of people who have never seen you before and to do some real good in your community. There is nothing wrong with keeping your business interests in mind while you volunteer. Indeed, it’s important. As such, find volunteer opportunities that align with your business interests. For example, if you deal with food service, working with local food banks or meals on wheels would be a very appropriate use of your time.
Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
There are many benefits of joining your local chamber. It allows you to meet new people, network, find business deals and identify ways to get involved in your local area. Chambers provide great ways for you to grow your list of contacts. Furthermore, they can allow you to find the most efficient and cost-effective ways that you can make a local difference.
Of course, your time is limited, but being actively involved in community efforts is not only good for you and your neighbors, but it’s also good for your bottom line. Those are some of the many reasons that it is so important for you to do everything you can to keep your business community-centered. You can do good, meet more people and, ultimately, make more money.
One of the best ways to improve productivity within the workplace is to build a rapport with your subordinates. If you are new to the management field and are unsure of how to do that, here are some suggestions that can help you out.
Engage in Company Activities
Whenever there is a company picnic, office party, et cetera, by engaging in these activities, you send a message to your employees that you are part of the team rather than just over it. Atmospheres, such as a catered lunch, that are more relaxed will give you and your employees an opportunity to relate outside of the office politics and even make communicating in the office much easier.
Show Employees Your Appreciation
No matter who you are, whether you are a sales representative or a housewife, everyone wants to feel appreciated. The best way to get someone to perform in a manner that you want is by praising them whenever they do. Positive reinforcement will not only help your employees do their job better, but they will also be more open to listening to you as well.
Understand Every Single Job
Performing a Gemba walk may provide insight into your daily operations and help you understand what your employees are dealing with daily. Understanding what each job entails will help you empathize with your employees whenever they have an issue instead of dismissing their concerns. When your employees feel as though they are being heard and their concerns are valid, they will feel comfortable coming to you more, which will help to improve your relationship.
Provide Employees With Support and Guidance
When giving feedback that is not so positive, it is important that you not simply tell your employees what they did wrong but also tell them how they can make it right. Although correction comes with the managerial territory, it is also critical to provide positive feedback, as well, so employees know what they are doing right. Offering advice and tips that can help them be successful at work will ensure that your feedback is not only well received but also appreciated.
A good working relationship, just like any other, is based upon having an open line of communication. It is important that you try to understand your employees’ concerns, as well as, the needs of the company and communicate them in a positive and productive manner.
Leading a retail sales team takes patience and flexibility. Not only are you dealing with the public on a daily basis, but you may be working with employees with limited employment experience. Managing people of different ages and skill sets will take a great deal of your time and focus.
Be a Leader
Mirror the skills you’d like your team members to exhibit. If you have a customer struggling to locate something, walk them to the item and make sure they have what they need before you step away. People bringing in returns may require special handling. Sometimes providing terrific customer service means letting people share a longer story than you have time for. Be an active listener. Let your team members watch you handle a difficult or unhappy customer. Remember that you are always teaching your team members, no matter how tough your job gets.
Embrace New Technology
Change can be hard for some people. If your team has members that struggle to learn new technology or customers who get unhappy when the store checkout process changes, you have the chance to shine. Changing technologies will suit some but may leave others behind. Of course, your team members will need to learn to use the latest tools available in the facility. By demonstrating that these changes will enhance their ability to do their jobs, you can reduce the resistance you have to face.
Making sure that your team is successful will require some study on your part. For example, many retail managers now need to lead people who are much older than themselves. Reading up on generational work habits, communication patterns, and overall work expectations can make connecting with these employees easier. Factors for the business you work for, such as building and maintaining market share in a world that has embraced on-line shopping, can help you lead a team that provides magnetizing customer service. Reading some of the top rated books on retail management can provide you with great insights on how you can improve your skills as a retail manager.
Use Smart Delegation
You may have employees that are eager to learn and willing to go the extra mile. Make sure to encourage these employees to build a deep knowledge of the products sold by the company. If they demonstrate a willingness to learn, you can start delegating more responsibility to them. It’s important to note that these employees are not your competition. A well-trained and responsible team member can be the person who allows you to take a vacation or stay home with a sick family member. If you delegate and that person drops the ball, you know what they can handle and what they will choose to avoid. All of this information can help you develop your team for the best results for the business.
Focus on Organization
The retail space needs to be inviting, tidy, well-lit and unique. When you’re working in a space, use any downtime to organize the space. Whether that means refolding rumpled clothing on a display table or straightening things on a hanger, let your team see you focusing on these simple steps. If you run a restaurant, take around a pitcher of water or a pot of coffee. If you’re selling stationary, tidy the shelves and check the card displays to make sure each card has the proper envelope. The power of online shopping is that it allows customers to look at only one thing at a time. In sticks-and-bricks retail, you can successfully display a range of objects, but only if the display is well-organized and attractive.
It’s All About the Details
Each of your employees is a unique individual. Some may be punctual at the start of their shift but stretch their breaks. Others may struggle with being constantly late but work very hard once they arrive. Each of these employees brings something to the team and has areas they need to improve. Rather than trying to be an enforcer, think of yourself as a coach. Praise in public and try to promote improvement ideas in private. The late employee may be dealing with a difficult transportation issue, waiting on a babysitter or coming over after class. The employee who needs a longer break may be struggling with a personal issue or a health challenge. You may need to be flexible, but without open communication, you won’t know what’s causing the problem. Once the problem is defined, celebrate small improvements to let your employees know that you’re pulling for them and their success.
Managing people isn’t easy. Every person on your team will face challenges and struggles. To provide your employees with the right kind of support, focus on empathy and communication. Be aware of their goals and help them hit those targets or encourage them to focus on your goals for them as they get started in their retail careers. Your goal should always be their success.
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The nature of communication within businesses has seen great changes in recent years. Through the internet and other digital connections, you can pass information to your employees within seconds. However, fast communication is not a guarantee that your workers will see or respond to the communication. The best way to communicate with your staff depends on your resources, employee location, and privacy concerns.
Depending on the number of remote employees you have, the least expensive form of communication may be a face-to-face meeting. Many businesses start the day with a daily briefing of different departments or staff groups. These types of meetings can be helpful in ensuring people have received important information for the day. However, once the workday begins, there may be other communication needs. Email is still a low-end expense, but it is often so frequently used that important communication may never be seen. Shortly after your email arrives, it is pushed down by other pressing messages. Saving money does not matter when your messages get lost in employee inboxes. If you want communication that is more direct or more private, you will have to invest more in your systems. A virtual private network can enhance security, but working with one is an added cost. A third-party communication system can help establish message priority, but it is also a financial investment.
Where Are My Employees?
While the daily meeting can still be helpful, it is a product of a different era when employees were all onsite. Nearly 3 billion people worldwide are deskless workers, making communication via email less optimal for disseminating information. Remote workers may need company-issued phones for receiving information through text or instant message. You also need to consider how remote employees can participate in meetings. This could involve a simple remote connection or a virtual meeting room.
How Important is the Information?
Another important consideration is the value of the information that is being sent back and forth. Sending out a set of weekly goals is most likely an operation with low-security needs. However, if sensitive content is routinely part of communications, you need to think about data safety. In this case, you want to create connections that have higher security protocols like password protection and encryption.
Poor communication costs businesses a great deal of money every year in both time and profit. Companies of every size need to have a communication plan in place. When you think intentionally about how to share information, you will improve the performance of your business.
Natural born leaders fall into a role that has others watching their every move. But even natural born leaders face situations that cause them to stress out a bit. Leaders must be vigilant about how they react in all situations, especially stressful ones. Stress has a significant impact on how leaders respond to everyday activities and impromptu scenarios they were unprepared to handle.
Stress Causes You to Make Poor Decisions
Stress is a natural thing, and everyone chooses how to react to such events in life that cause theirs. Our bodies create what has been dubbed the stress hormone, which is called cortisol. While cortisol can have positive effects on our bodies, ultimately, too much of something leads to adverse outcomes. When a significant conflict arises, our brain creates a flight-or-fight scenario that we must respond to almost immediately. Due to the knee-jerk reaction our minds take under a specifically stressful moment, rational thinking takes a back seat to impulse reaction. The inability to control how you react to stress will inevitably lead to making poor decisions and lashing out at others in close vicinity. Leaders must be one step ahead of the impending impact that stress creates.
You Take Your Stress Out on Others
Snappy comments, quick decisions without a rational reason and lashing out at someone unrelated to the situation are a few ways leaders may be taking their stress out on those around them. Being known as the boss who has brash outbursts will create a negative atmosphere and impact the efficiency required to lead a team successfully. These outbursts do not always stay within the office. Road rage is a common side effect of continued stress in the workplace. Quick decisions and blaming other drivers for their choices is the outlet some people use to relieve the anxiety they had to suppress in the office. This is what happens when you experience road rage, which is responsible for numerous car accidents every year. Try a few of the tips listed below to help relieve stress before road rage becomes a part of your drive home.
Take Steps to Destress and React Professionally
There are a few methods a good leader should adopt to control stress before it controls them. Listen to what is said, and break down what needs addressing right away and what can be discussed later. Situational awareness will help you recognize the need to breathe before speaking. Take a timeout, and walk away to collect your thoughts before making an on-the-spot decision. Take a walk or a break if the stress is too much to remain professional. A quick walk around the building before agreeing to something or the commute home can be helpful for reducing stress.
The best thing you can do as a leader to avoid taking out your stress on other people and continuing to lead your team to success is to take a step back and modulate your reaction to the situation at hand. Try not to make any hasty decisions, and take a break if you need to.
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