Can your business compete in the “Amazon” and “instant delivery” era? There are some businesses — thankfully in the pool industry with pool contractors and pool service businesses — that can compete but others struggle in the instant gratification era. Many businesses have struggled since the pandemic and because people came to rely on delivery rather than going out to stores. What your biz can learn from mom & pop shops is something Rex Richard and his Peak Dynamics team discuss when they strategize with their clients.
You can compete, you just need to know the “insider secrets.” I’d read an article about what independent bookstores are doing to compete and stay viable and thriving. These are a few lessons I gleaned that could help any small business owner who operates a brick and mortar.
What Your Biz Can Learn From Mom & Pop Shops
Community matters. To compete with the nameless, faceless big box stores, it’s all about community and building a connection with your customers. You don’t need a brick-and-mortar store to build a community. Look for ways to stay connected through emails and even by building an online group.
Be like Amazon and offer an “if you like this, you might like that” to introduce a customer to a new good or service you may have to offer.
If you have a retail outlet, is it appealing to customers when they walk through the door? If you have an online business is your website and online presence welcoming?
Small retailers can compete even with the big box guys. You need to help yourself and your business stand apart through customer service and connection and community building.
My team at Peak Dynamics has been remote before it became a trend during the coronavirus pandemic. I have long relied on technology to connect with my staff who is scattered across the globe. I couldn’t run my businesses if I didn’t have implicit trust in them to do what needed to be done. Do you trust your staff? If not, why do you have them working for you?
My contractors are hired for their unique skills and their dedication to what they do for me and for my clients. I vet them well and know they are dedicated to what they do for me, even if I am not their only client. Trust is a two way street. I trust them to do what needs to be done and they trust me to give them the tools they need to excel.
Sure, there have been some missteps along the way but because of those incidents, I learned what to look for and how to avoid those missteps in the future. It’s a live and learns and learn to let go and let your staff — whether they’re in the office or virtual — run with the tasks they’ve been given and become trusted members of your team.
Once I have a team member in place and trained to the unique way in which I do things in my Peak Dynamics pool industry marketing business (hint: hire people who have the skillsets you seek and you can train them to do the nitty-gritty that is unique to your organization), but you need to learn to trust your employees.
Do You Trust Your Staff?
Here are my tips for doing just that:
Provide training to do the job to the best of their abilities in the unique way you operate your business.
Set specific expectations
Set reasonable goals. Don’t be vague in what you expect because your staff/vendors won’t know if they’re attaining the goals you’d set if they can’t pinpoint a set point.
Have an open-door policy so employees know you’re available if they need help. Don’t make them waste their time going down the wrong path if they can just reach out to you for clarification.
Look for employees who show initiative.
Let them know you appreciate their efforts and what they bring to the team.
Conferences are being planned and with them being in-person again after more than three years of virtual events because of coronavirus. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people, find new clients and learn new skills. We have put together 3 ways to get conference ROI — if you’re spending the money to get to and from the conference, stay in a hotel and the fee from the conference you do want to ensure you see a return on that investment.
Regardless of whether you travel cross country or even day a day or two out of your office to attend a local networking event, you want to ensure you’re getting value from it. If you’re not, then why did you take time away from growing your business?
3 Ways To Get Conference ROI
Know who will be speaking, what they will be speaking on and whether it’s content you need to help with your business growth. Note the sessions you want to attend and what you hope to get out of it. Know what questions you want to have answered and how those answers will impact your business.
If there are pre- and post-conference events, plan to attend. Most of the best networking occurs in these more relaxed settings. You will also be able to connect with other attendees and you just might bump into a speaker with whom you want to connect.
Follow-up is key to conference ROI. If you collected business cards or connected with people, email them when you get back. Remind them what you talked about and why you’re connecting. Take the information you learned and blog about it, share on social and tag the person who shared that info.
If you are attending any in-person events, how will you measure your return on the investment you’re making?
What helps your business succeed and thrive? Your employees, right? If you are looking to grow or retain your staff we have 5 ways to build employee engagement. An engaged employee is more likely to stay and more likely to perform at his or her peak.
How can you ensure your employees are engaged? You can certainly ask, but if they value their jobs they may just say they are engaged — to humor you. You need to cultivate an environment of engagement and making your employees feel valued and heard.
5 Ways To Build Employee Engagement
Here are the best ways we have found to keep employees and even vendors engaged.
Offer seamless support. Don’t make employees have to jump through hoops to effect change or be heard. Have a service desk that caters to your staff. You have that for customers, why not staff.
Onboard with purpose. Don’t just hire an employee, give them the keys to the restroom and set them free. An employee who feels supported in the first days will be happier and more engaged. Even if you’re hiring remote and work from home staff, you can still successfully and effectively onboard them and help them succeed from day one.
Train from the beginning. Even if you hire an employee who met all the experience criteria, each organization has unique nuances and you can’t expect a new employee to know how yours works, just because he or she has the experience you sought.
Keep the lines of communication open. If you have an open door policy, let them know. If the new hire reports to a different supervisor, introduce them and introduce them to their co workers. Make them feel welcome.
Have an employee recognition program in place and let an employee know what he or she needs to do to earn that recognition. Also, on occasion, for no reason recognize an employee for a random act. Being recognized and even given a small gift card can go a long way in building engagement. Don’t forget to let the entire organization know who is being recognized and why.
When is the last time you thought about employee engagement? What is your turnover rate? Do you need to lower that? Engagement practices may be just what you need!
Losing a great employee can wreak havoc on a business. There are ways to ensure you don’t lose your best employees, but that starts before they have decided to give their notice. Sure you could offer a raise or match the benefits their new employer is offering, but if you don’t know the real reason they want to leave — it’s usually not always about the money — they will remain unhappy and will likely still look to leave.
In my coaching business I’ve worked with clients who shared, “I don’t want to train my employees in new technologies or offer continuing education because if I do, they will quit and I will have lost that investment.” Truly? Keeping your employees at their current level and never offering a change to move, change and grow will keep them?
Don’t be short-sighted. Don’t stifle growth of an employee and his or her skills because you fear they may “abandon you.” If they were going to leave they will regardless of the additional training. At that point, chances are they have already been scouring the want ads. Training and the chance for advancement may keep them with you longer –look at the flipside of that coin.
Don’t stifle a great employees’ desire for self-improvement. Your business and your employees performance will be of benefit to you. Also, you may keep a superstar if you encourage him or her.
Don’t Lose Your Best Employees
Offer feedback. Do your employees know if they are performing at or above what’s expected? If you don’t tell them, they won’t know. Schedule a time each month — at least — to discuss performance. Praise wins and offer constructive criticism.
Don’t overwork them. You may be doing the same work with a small staff but that doesn’t mean you can expect them to pick up all of the slack. Don’t make your employees feel they need to be available 24/7 — unless they are being well-compensated for that. Give them time off. Let them have a personal life. They may just work harder and smarter if they have time off.
Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Don’t hire an employee and promise them the world if you know that isn’t going to happen. You will have a dissatisfied employee and they won’t trust anything you say in the future. AND they will likely leave your firm.
Don’t keep the big picture a secret. Share your vision. Even if your employee isn’t involved in the big picture, feeling like he is in the know is an empowering feeling. And truly, why not involve everyone?
Don’t stifle creativity. Ask for input. Listen to creative ideas. Have a suggestion box and truly pay attention.
Do your employees have a reason to stay? Are there more reasons for them to be inching toward the door? If you don’t know or if you know they are thinking of leaving take steps to keep those valued employees today!
How can you motivate your team and employees to keep them better engaged and more loyal to the company? By offering ongoing training and coaching. Don’t wait for a specific moment in time or until you invest in a training program – open yourself and offer your skills on an ongoing basis to your team. Do you motivate and coach your team? If not, why not? If you are, congratulations!
When your team knows you’re providing impromptu coaching and training they will be eager to learn and their value to your company skyrockets.
Even if you have a competent – and why wouldn’t you – the staff there is always room for learning and growth and if you’re providing that they just might stick around. Don’t fall into the mindset that if you train them, they will learn and leave. Be confident in what you offer that they will, indeed stay and the coaching you provide only enhances their value to your company.
Do You Motivate And Coach Your Team?
Empower your staff to learn. Whether they learn on-site or online if they come to you with an opportunity to learn and if it will enhance their value and the skills they bring to the job then say, yes!
Why should you implement workplace training and coaching?
Don’t assume what your staff knows or doesn’t know. Ask them to outline their unique skills and talents. You may have a talented staff member in a position that isn’t challenging him or her and you may want to move them into a position that better suits them and the company
When you’re delegating tasks, use that as an opportunity to provide customized staff training opportunities
Has there been a major shakeup in staff? Before simply sliding the next person in line into a vacant position, open the opportunity to others who may want to prove their mettle and grow in the company with new responsibility
Tell your staff that you’re open to their learning new skills. Tell them to let you know what they want to learn and why and how it will help them in their current position
Keep the door open for coaching and training. Let your employees grow and excel by offering them new opportunities to show you just how great they are