We all get into habits in our day-to-day work and our behaviors become so routine that it becomes difficult to see any other way of doing things. Retail owners and staff are particularly prone to becoming stuck in their ways due to the regular pattern of customers and the repetitive nature of the sales process.
Our view of the world is strongly shaped by the position we are viewing from, and it takes quite a lot of effort, and sometimes discomfort, to open our minds and see our work and our business from a different perspective.
Here are some of the common beliefs I have observed in retail stores that should be challenged if you want your business to continue to adapt and improve.
The best retail owners and managers are continuously reviewing their business plans with help from outside advisors. Participation in out-of-business events, industry trainings and conferences can provide inspiration for change. But an even more powerful catalyst will come from a one-on-one relationship with a skilled business advisor, mentor or coach.
Most retailers are small, closely controlled companies without the formal structure of a board of directors from different backgrounds. There are affordable ways to get fresh, objective outside input into your business planning and review processes.
Your accountant, suppliers, wholesalers and industry representatives are good sources of advice, but for more structured regular input a business coach or business mentor can be hired (Google for availability in your area). Many of these provide a programme of meetings, reporting tools, reviews and networking which have been proven to work.
Business coaching typically has the most impact for the participating business owner in the area of strategic planning. The biggest benefits come from the increased accountability that the ongoing coaching relationship introduces. Check out this useful infographic.
As a business consultant, I am constantly surprised by the gap between my observations of a business based on actual results, and the owner and staff’s interpretations of the same situation. Helping you to see problems differently, and to try new things that are proven to work elsewhere are the big benefits of exposing yourself to structured business advice from outside experts.