According to the National Retail Federation, the retail industry added 43,600 jobs in August. Forbes reports that consumers are spending again, mainly in categories like cars, housing, e-commerce, appliances and home projects. This presents a guarded but optimistic outlook for growth for the upcoming season. How will you manage that growth once it comes your way?
Recognize growing pains and growth spurts
Remember that growing pains, while unpleasant, are evidence that you’re growing. Your people may not be as efficient or productive during this period of growth, but you can use this as an opportunity to correct mistakes, train your staff, and make sure the right people are in the right positions before the stakes get higher.
Growth spurts, whether in business or childhood, require more energy input. What are you doing to energize and “feed” yourself and your team? Customers know when your staff is frazzled, and keeping their fuel tanks full will reap great rewards in customer satisfaction and employee retention.
Brainstorm new growth opportunities
Jotting down a few notes can help you sustain your growth without a huge time investment. Try this simple exercise: Take out three sheets of paper and label them “Stop”, “Start”, and “Keep”.
- On the “Stop” page, write what you need to stop doing. What is a waste of time and/or resources? What can you outsource? Letting go of things that aren’t working means you can invest more time and energy into those that are.
- On the “Start” page, brainstorm ideas for new activities to encourage growth for your business, your employees and your customers. Separate them into short-term and long-term categories.
- On the “Keep” page, recognize what you are doing well. Determine if you need to assign additional resources to these areas.
Your employees and customers can be great resources for information. Encourage them to participate in this process and get them invested in your store’s success.
Plan for long-term growth
From your “Start” page, identify the low-hanging fruit and tackle a few small items to get the momentum going. Then look for one or two longer-term goals that you think would have a great impact. Write the goal at the bottom of a piece of paper.
Working backward, make a month-by-month plan to achieve those goals in the next year. When you are one step away from your goal, what would that look like? Write that just above the goal and work your way up the page to today. In a matter of minutes you’ll have a written, step-by-step plan to accomplish your goal.
Again, involve your staff in this process whenever you can. When employees feel like their input is valuable, they are much more invested in the outcome.
Simplify and focus to sustain growth
You know your business and why you’re in it. What actions have resulted in growth in the past? What are others doing to promote growth? Make sure you have fostered a culture that’s open to growth, and put yourself and your people in positions where they’ll excel at the things they do best. With an energized workforce and a little focused planning, you can be prepared for your business’ growth as it comes.
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