Here you are, coffee in hand, ready to tackle your store’s to-do list. But before you know it, you’re dealing with an order that came in unexpectedly, recounting last night’s cash report because it doesn’t add up and covering for your cashier whose, once again, late. Sound familiar? That’s because, on average, business owners spend 68% of their time taking care of day-to-day tasks rather than working “on their business” and preparing it for growth.
Of course, your business is your passion and your life. Except, working more doesn’t always equate to working better. Maybe you’re trying to save costs or you’re worried about delegating jobs to people who won’t execute them as well as you think you would. But the truth is this approach is unsustainable and it’s probably making you waste time. If you don’t recall the last time you felt up to date in your daily tasks, chances are you need to rethink the way you work. We’ve all wished there were more hours in a day…but that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Instead, here are some tips on how to optimize your working method, and gain more free time in the process.
Mistake: Not trusting your employees enough
Solution: Investing in your team
You worked hard to get your business off the ground. This is your passion, and you’re right to be protective over what you’ve built. However, there’s a fine line between being selective about who will help you manage your business, and refusing any help at all. You should view the recruitment process like an opportunity to build a strong team and acquire more resources. Read these tips on hiring the best employees for a good place to start. When you meet a potential employee, take the time to discuss your business’ core values and get them excited about the possibility of growing into their role. Take interest in candidate’s other interests and skills, and think about how this can benefit your store.
Your employee’s official title may be “sales associate” but if they happen to be talented with social media or if they study graphic design on the side, why shouldn’t you tap into their potential? It’s a win-win situation. Your staff will feel that their work is appreciated, which will likely motivate them to take more initiative and improve their performance in all aspects of the job. As for you, you’ll save time on tasks outside your area of expertise and you’ll be freer to focus on what you do best. Even better? Employees who feel appreciated have a lower rate of absenteeism and contribute to a more positive working environment.
Mistake: Sticking to traditional methods
Solution: Get the right POS System
Running a business without the proper POS system is like running a marathon without running shoes. It’s possible, but unnecessarily difficult. Jokes aside, if you haven’t moved on from the old pen and paper method, chances are your competitors have – and that they’re running their business more efficiently. But using a point of sale is not everything, retailers should take the time to consider what system will be the best fit for their type of business. Start by asking yourself what your ideal work day would be like. You probably wish you were spending more time with customers, providing your staff with robust training or developing new marketing strategies. Instead, tasks like inventory management, purchase orders and handling online sales take up large parts of your workday.
Check out these six tips on picking out the right POS for your business to help guide your decision. Beyond enabling transactions and payments, point of sale technologies provide built-in data reports, marketing tools, and inventory organization. Some POS solutions even offer integrated email marketing tools and customer profiles. In addition to saving you precious time by automating many of your daily tasks, the right POS can act as a powerful business tool. While switching to a new point of sale solution may seem like a big leap, sticking to a system that doesn’t fulfill your needs is expensive and counterproductive. Your POS can become your strongest ally, so pick wisely! Learn how technology and automation tools can save you time and boost your productivity.
Mistake: Taking on too much
Solution: Master your to-do list
From ordering stock to managing employees and producing marketing content, there’s little time to waste in a retail store. You probably have enough to do to keep you busy around the clock, but doing so wouldn’t be productive. Pick 1 or 3 urgent tasks and set out to resolve them today. Think of things that you’ll end up having to do from home if they don’t get done during work hours. Get the most pressing things, like building next week’s working schedule, out of the way first thing in the morning so you kick off your day feeling productive and less stressed. Remember our advice on empowering employees? Delegating tasks and giving them their own daily goals of their own is a clever way to increase efficiency.
While your assistant manager orders in new stock, your sales associate can reorganize the cash area and you can call regular customers to inform them about new arrivals. Now that’s productive! Try to focus on one task at a time, it may feel counterintuitive but studies show that we lose on average 40% of our productivity when we try to juggle several tasks at once.In the hustle and bustle of a retail store, it can be tough to concentrate, but it pays off to do so. Go on ghost mode, tell your team that you need 30 minutes of uninterrupted office time to sort through emails or organize inventory before you can return to the sales floor. You’ll see, jobs that usually take twice as long will get done in record time!
As the owner, you oversee every element of your business. From the cleanliness of your shelves to the type of stock that’s displayed on them, you know every step counts. Empower your business with the right technological tools, separate jobs based on skill sets and learn to prioritize for increased efficiency. Your operations will run more smoothly and you’ll be able to reclaim weekends for family, friends, and hobbies!
About the Author: Eva Barroso Riccardi
Eva is a content specialist at Lightspeed POS. She’s a kale connoisseur, shoe collector and chronic over packer. Words are her preferred mode of transportation; she loves digging into their etymology, uncovering their past and embracing them as they move ideas and conversations forward.