For the past two years, I have worked as a slave for one of the retail industry giants. Well it wasn’t really slavery, for those who take things too literally, but it felt a bit like it especially when the business started to die down.
Working for the retail industry entails working long hours, catering to your customer’s crazy demands, and making sure you were able to achieve your boss’ last minute instructions. What I liked about the company I worked for however was that they cascaded all the necessary information from the heads down to the ranks.
First and foremost, the bosses would always ask us to know our numbers. By that they mean we should know our sales figures for the day, the month, the year. To run a successful business, you should always be on top of your game. Sales differ per day, per month, per season. By knowing your numbers you would see the different trends in consumerism and it would help you plan your different strategies for the day. Your goal is always to earn more than you did yesterday to keep the business up and running.
Knowing what your competitors have to offer is also another factor that would aid in maintaining your business on top of its game. It’s true that many retail stores offer the same type of merchandise, mostly due to market research and customer demands. To make sure your brand stays on top, you have to make sure your products and services are of high quality. Never mind pricing too high or too low – if you provide more than what is expected of you, customers would be willing to pay more than what they would initially shell out.
If you own a business, it is expected of you to face your clients. When you are in the retail business, you have no choice but to face your customers. Every single day you would deal with different kinds of customer complaints – from the pettiest things to craziest demands of your customer. You have to learn to deal with difficult customers though, as they could make or break your business. Sometimes, all it takes is one wrong move from you and you’re gone. Word of mouth, especially from unsatisfied customers, spreads fast.
Being a retail slave taught me a lot of things about handling your own business, but I think that the most important thing I picked up from all of that is this: you have to know how to take care of your people. You may run a successful business on the outside, but if there is a lot of conflict within your employees, then that would translate to your business as well. Your sales may drop, you may lose your people, and you would have no one to help you with running your business. As a boss, you have to let everyone below you know the different things happening to the company. You have to make everyone aware of the different problems you are currently encountering – who knows, one of them may be the one to help you get up.
I’m no expert at all, but with my two years of retail experience as a mere employee, these are few of the things I learned about handling businesses.
This article is written by Mohit Tater who is a SEO and marketing expert and blogs at entrepreneurshiplife.com and mohittater.com. Apart from advising clients on SEO and marketing strategies, he also runs an investment firm BlackBook Investments that helps people invest in online businesses and digital assets. When he is not working (which is almost never!) he likes to read, travel the world and connect with other entrepreneurs.