There are plenty of things a brick-and-mortar retailer might be scared of in our current environment, but let’s get one thing clear, right from the start: Amazon isn’t one of them. Sure, Amazon is big, so big one might think “how can I possibly compete with that?”. If you linger for too long in that mode of comparison though, you will definitely set your business up for failure.
While it’s important to be aware of what your direct competition is doing, the more important thought you should be having is how can you do better than you did yesterday, last week, last month, last year. Your biggest stumbling block is yourself.
So, get over focusing on the Amazons of your world and start focusing on how to be better yourself, how to help your team be better, and how to deliver better service to your customers.
Here are the Top 10 Things a brick-and-mortar retailer should be scared of:
- Assuming your team knows what you want them to do. You know the saying, “when you assume you make an *ss out of you and me.” Clear expectations are the start of every success.
- Tolerating unacceptable behavior from employees. This will not only wreck the motivation of all the other employees on the team, but it could also get you into legal trouble. Partner with your HR department, or your legal counsel if you are a small business owner, and address the behaviors immediately.
- Focusing the majority of your time and attention on “problem” employees. Your best performers deserve your acknowledgement and recognition. Your average employees also can benefit from your attention by helping them with training and motivation to achieve more. Don’t let any “bad apples” drag the best part of you, and your team, down.
- Failing to listen to your employees’ ideas. Some of the best ideas come from your team members on the front lines. Actively seek out their ideas and opinions. You may be surprised by the exceptional things you can learn.
- Failing to set reasonable goals. Goals are great, they provide something to work toward, something to celebrate when achieved, and something to learn from if they aren’t met. Failing to set them at all, or not making them relevant and attainable, doesn’t help you or your business at all.
6. Trying to be everything to everybody. You should have a clear vision of your business purpose. Who is your target customer and what main problems do you solve for them? You need that clear vision, and your team needs to have a clear understanding of it as well.
7. Doing everything yourself. If you’re one of those “If I want something done right, I have to do it myself” types, you are working way harder than you need to be. Empower your employees to do the right thing, with some clear guidelines. Giving your team permission to perform builds their feeling of responsibility and trust. That will also create a feeling of loyalty which will extend beyond your team and will positively impact your customers’ experiences too.
8. Avoiding the “Just Looking” customers. Customers rarely step into a store with absolutely no intent whatsoever. You and your team must set the stage for each customer to have an exceptional experience. There’s great power in person-to-person retail. Have role-play practice sessions with your sales team. Get them comfortable with having conversations with all types of customers, even the ones who are “just looking”.
9. Hiring without due diligence. Finding good employees is a challenge. Don’t make the mistake of hiring someone just because you are desperate. You must always be networking and looking for your next hire. Look beyond your specific type of retail too.
10. Assuming business will come to you. The “build it and they will come” days are over. You must create your own buzz and excitement. Get familiar with social media. Plan your marketing strategy. What events can you hold that will drive interest and traffic to your location?
Hope you don’t let any of these scary things creep into your business! Have a safe and fun Halloween!