5 Ways Business Owners Can Jump-Start Their Retail Operations
This year is proving to be a year of growth for many retail businesses, and there's no reason yours can't be a part of that. Here are five straightforward but important steps that you can take to help reinvigorate your retail business’s performance and get it on track to achieve your long-term goals.
1. Clarify your direction. It's critical to clearly understand where your business is headed. Look at your current situation with a fresh set of eyes, then establish goals for where you'd like it to be. Don't be constrained by what you think is likely to happen. Consider what you want, what you really want, first.
Of course, every owner wants to become successful and build a profitable business. But start with realistic, “stretch” goals. You might consider making it a goal to spend an extra 20 minutes analyzing your metrics and retail data for new opportunities, for example. Push yourself just a little, then break your goals down into pieces while designating milestones to measure progress.
2. Create accountability. Once you've decided your goals, build in accountability for yourself. How will you ensure that these things will happen? What systems, processes or people are you going to put in place to drive them to completion? If you're not willing to put such checks and balances on your own actions, re-examine your goals. Without true accountability, you may be setting yourself up for mediocre results. However, if you can create these assurances with meaningful deadlines, you've taken an important step to improving your business.
3. Open up. When you’re heading up retail operations, it's easy to get stuck by yourself at the top. With no one to talk to about the business, your own blind spots, knowledge gaps and shortcomings can get in the way of success. Let’s face it, nobody does everything well. The problem is, many business owners prefer not to rely on others — they have an urge to try to do it all.
Open yourself to accepting help. While it might not seem to make sense right away, consider hiring to fill roles that take you away from performing the most critical functions. Owners often don't take this step, losing out on the opportunity to serve their own “highest and best use.” Doing so might be another significant step to building your business.
Next, look for support organizations in your area. Peer-to-peer advisory groups are a great way to harness the experiences of other business owners who are facing the same problems. Groups like this can offer you the opportunity to identify solutions to your business problems while at the same time strengthening your skills as an owner and the leader of your company.
Lastly, if you already have the staff to support some of this effort, move past fears of delegating. Putting trust in someone else with the vital elements of running your company is a critical rite of passage for building a business. Thus, if you truly want growth, this step is necessary and unavoidable. Doing so will afford you the time to lead initiatives that really drive success and stop turning you into the choke point to progress.
4. Monitor your work/life balance. Running your own business is complex, and the strain it puts on your personal life can be counterproductive for the business in the long run. All too often, business owners become so consumed in their businesses that they forget to enjoy important events and everyday moments in their personal lives.
Letting life pass you by can have a huge impact on how you run your business. An unhappy business owner has greater difficulties becoming a successful business owner because a person’s mental outlook can negatively or positively affect how everything else falls into place.
Take some time to examine your business obligations and personal life to identify those areas that aren't working as well as you'd like. Understand that sometimes you need to let go of control, trust in others and, most importantly, trust in yourself. Also, be mindful of your stress levels. Just because you own a business doesn't mean you need to be there 24 hours a day.
5. Get excited about your business again. The fact of the matter is that 2009 was among the most challenging times retailers have ever seen. But you've weathered the storm and can take pride in that accomplishment.
To capitalize on that this year, get yourself excited about your business again. Consider the possibilities, and let yourself dream just a bit. Remember the energy and enthusiasm you had when you first started your business? Re-inject that vigor into your business today.