Those of you that have been with me from part one will know I have covered most of the Fundamentals that you have to address to keep your business motoring along in the current climate.In Part I covered costs and how they had to be brought into line with current prices.In Parts II and III, I covered adding value for your customer and how you had to maximise the amount your customer was spending with you, how running promotions with free cost-effective gifts as opposed to discount were you can.I also covered how you can add turn over by bringing in a star performer to your staff.That could be by poaching somebody from your opposition or employing a retailer who has closed down.
Motivating your staff is a key issue at all times and one that really does present problems for people.Should I offer more money, should I offer bonus’, how can I keep them at their maximum without it costing huge money.You have to start from a position that your staff are very good at what they do.If not, why are they working for you.In the present climate everybody should be very happy to be working and they should be giving their full attention to their jobs.If your staff are not pulling their weight then a meeting should be had where the bare unvarnished truths should be explained.This is the worst economic downturn in our history and they have to put their shoulders to the wheel.This despite the fact that you have possible cut their hours or salary.They still have to turn up everyday and give their best for you and the company’s survival, so that when the upturn comes they will still have their jobs and resume their full hours and money.People respond best when treated like adults and the obvious problems are discussed and not ignored.Remember they have worries as well and to ignore that is poor man management on your part.
How do you provide an incentive for your staff and make it fresh?How do you reward them and not have it that they expect it?How do you keep them at their maximum productivity?This is easier said then done, if you pay people weekly they get use to it, expect it and will thru human nature do the least possible to receive it.If you give bonus’ after a certain amount of time performance will fall off but the bonus will still be expected.You have to vary them and make them unexpected.
A study on training Dolphins showed very interesting results, now you may wonder what training Dolphins has to do with people, but the lady in question had trained other circus animals for years.Lions ,tigers and elephants using the usual tools, whips,ropes and such like.Now what ever your feelings regarding this the findings when she went to work with Dolphin’s are fascinating.She could not use the usual tools, she could not shout and threaten the dolphin, why?Because the Dolphin would just swim away and she could not swim after it.
So a whole new method had to be devised to get the Dolphin to comply and work with the trainer.They had to turn the way that they taught around completely to be successful with the dolphins or they could forget ever getting to the stage they are at today in the likes of Seaworld and other theme parks.What they found worked was the reward of fish.So if the dolphin did one jump it got a fish.If it did two jumps it got a fish and so on…The problems occurred when the dolphin realised that if it did two jumps but did not put much effort into the first jump and still completed the second jump it got a fish!Clever dolphins, so the trainers had to counteract that by varying the reward, if the dolphin did all their jumps to the maximum it got its reward, but only if it gave its all.They also found that if they varied the reward and threw the odd extra fish just for the sake of it this kept the dolphin guessing.If the dolphin went through a particularly difficult routine they would throw extra fish but vary the amount to keep the dolphin guessing.
What of the dolphin who refused to co-operate they found that if they threw him his reward anyway every now and then they could win him over and he would begin to work with the trainer.So how does this work for you in your retail business?Think outside the box use money sometimes to reward your staff and also use a couple of hours off, give them a gift for no apparent reason out of the blue.Mess with their minds do not let any pattern that they can figure out emerge.This will keep them on their toes and not in danger of becoming jaded and expectant.
Finally make it fun,make work fun where you can because it will become tedious.Brighten things up and try to offer variety.This is as much for your own sanity as anybody else’s.Under promise and over deliver, if you are ordering product for customers and you know you can have it in two days say four and ring them after two, you look very efficient.Your customer is your boss and do not ever forget that treat them like you would like to be treated if you are the customer and remember sell,sell,sell.
Good luck with your business and I hope this series has helped you figure out some of the stumbling block of trading in the current reality.I am always available for Executive Coaching should you so wish.This can be done, face to face, over the phone or on skype.I would be delighted to work with you, as if you are reading this you are already making an effort to change.Contact me here by leaving a message here or at firstname.lastname@example.org