Retailers: How to work smarter without working harder

1. Do what you do best, and delegate the rest

As retail manager, your primary concern is managing the store, not stocking shelves and sweeping the floor. A one-man band can’t expand, so employ someone to manage mundane tasks while you apply yourself to what you do best – managing the store!

2. Keep up to date

One aspect of working smarter is recognising good investments. Keep up to date with developments in technology and current trends for stock lines.

3. Utilise free things

Those apps with free trials? Try them! There are apps out there for everything from Payroll Management to Photo Editors. Use the trial periods to decide whether these will simplify your life.

4. Strategize

Rather than making hurried purchases, or deciding on marketing campaigns the day before deploying them, spend time strategizing for your business. Planning will save you money and time in the end.

5. Keep Notes

Do you ever experience those ah-ha moments about work…. outside hours? When you recall something, remember supplies you need to purchase, or dream up a new strategy, write it down. Use your phone’s memo app and you won’t forget important things.

6. Stop Procrastinating

You neglect ordering until you only have 10 bags left. You don’t want to think about making a decision about renewing that product line yet … this is procrastination, and it’s ineffective. It’s easy to appear busy without achieving. Why not be busy doing important things?

7. Schedule in time blocks for management tasks

Consider blocking out a period (outside opening hours or during a quiet part of the day) to make business calls or pay invoices. Now, focus on completing the task so it’s done before you begin serving customers again.

8. Track your time

Do you plan to do things and then wonder where the time has gone to get them done? Use a time tracker for a week to see where time slips away, and address the time-wasting tasks in a more efficient way.

9. Learn to say ‘no’

Agreeing to everything might make you appear pleasant. However, being overloaded and unable to prioritise tasks means you will never perform at your best. Say no when you know you can’t fulfil the promise to the standard expected.

10. Do the hard stuff when you have the energy

Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you have more energy at 9am or 3pm? People are at their best at different times of the day. If you find you get an energy spike after lunch, treat this time as valuable and use it to complete the tasks requiring mental effort.

11. Create organisation systems

One of the most efficient cafes in the world has a lot to teach us about systems. McDonalds, while not to everyone’s taste, employs unskilled people to create standardised products in record time. They take the thought process out of the procedure – analyse what shouldn’t require excess thought and create a system to suit the process.

12. Have something to do during quiet times

Never, never, never stand behind your counter staring into space. If your shop isn’t busy you can spend time on sales-improving activities– here’s 17.

13. Eliminate the non-essential

Do you hang on to aspects of your shop because they have always been there? Do you print out every piece of paperwork because you always have? Use technology to rethink old habits. Ask yourself if what you are doing is essential.

14. Stop being a perfectionist

A perfectionist has the best intentions – i.e. achieving excellence. But their downfall is spending ridiculous amounts of time on low-value projects. Anxiety, the side effect of perfectionism, is damaging to your health so ditch perfectionism for good. Don’t let people down, but bear in mind nothing is ever perfect.

15. Enjoy your work

Enjoying work doesn’t mean inattention, but an intense, serious attitude at all times can lead to elevated stress, and eventual burnout. If you continue to feel positive, it’s easier to be enthusiastic and motivated – this in turn leads to greater efficiency.

Try it! You’ll be amazed at the results. We’ll leave you with this quote:

Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day.
~ Denis Waitley

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