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Motivational Speaker For Business and Expert in Sales & Marketing

 Specializing in Business Development, Retail and Direct Sales


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Wearing Lots of Hats
A Retailers Guide to Better Time Management
By Debbie Allen, All Rights Reserved

Your business is one of the most demanding industries.  Retailers wear lots of different business hats.  Their job is never done and can always be improved upon.  Since time is so valuable to retailers, managing that time can make or break the success of the business.     

With the shortage in the job market today, retailers sometimes have no assistants to perform supporting chores.  Still, there is no limit to the time-consuming tasks that must be done to keep the business running on a day-to-day basis.  Along with that, retailers must constantly stay one step ahead of their competition.  Time efficiency is key if you do not want to become overwhelmed while wearing all those hats.  

Just think about all there is to do buying, writing orders, stocking new inventory, inventory control, managing, customer service, training, bookkeeping, housekeeping, mark downs, opening and closing, etc.  How can we do it all?  Okay, you can stop holding your breath now.  With a strong focus on good time management you will begin to prioritize and become more relaxed with that long list of job descriptions.  

Time is a non-renewable resource.  Learn to manage it or it will manage you.  Managed your precious time is essential to making the most of each day.  

A University of North Carolina research project asked 4,000 retired executives, what about their lives they would change if they had it to do all over again. The majority said they wished theyd made better use of the time they were given.  

Keys to Better Time Management Include:

Have a Plan.
Write out your day and week on a to do list to avoid wasting time along the way.  Prioritize important projects and set realistic deadlines for them.  Other projects will always get in your way, add them to your list but stick with your prioritized schedule.

Prioritize your work.
List the most valuable use of your time at the top of your scheduled list.  Ask yourself, what will give me the greatest return on my business?  That is what should be at the top of your list.

Take action!
Stick to your plan and complete the top priority projects.  Dont try to squeeze in more projects.  This will just frustrate and overwhelm you, making you less effective in the long run.  

Organize your hat rack.
Make a detailed job description list for everyone that works for your organization. When you sit down to write this out you will see just how many hats everyone in your gift business has to wear.  Maybe some of those tasks could be adjusted and handled by someone that is better suited for the job.  Discuss these job descriptions with your staff at your next store meeting and see what areas work best for each member of your team.

Good retailing needs to be supported by a right-brain process the creative end of the business.  Take note of your productivity peaks and valleys throughout each day.  Some people are more creative in the morning.  Some find that they need to have interaction with others during the day to work best.  Start charting your productivity levels throughout the day.  Decide if you are making the best use of your valuable time during your highest peak levels of performance.

You may be surprised to see that you are spending too much time on ineffective efforts.  By realizing this, you will learn how to plan to work in a more productive way.  If you are more creative in the morning, use that time of day wisely.  Dont take phone calls; use this time to do more creative and focused work.  Reverse this schedule if afternoon is more productive for you.  

Set up a schedule by taking a long-term view of your calendar.  Dont just look at the day, or the week, start planning months ahead.  Put your top priority projects or buying trips on your calendar first.  

Prioritize your to do list.
Select your most valuable tasks and put an A next to them.  Do those tasks first.  Other items on your list will have to wait until later. 

Embrace the latest technology.

  • Start using e-mail more; stop spending so much time on the telephone.  Keep your replies to telephone and e-mail messages short and simple.  Caller ID will allow you to screen most incoming calls, thereby determining which calls are the most   important. Customer calls can then be returned promptly, and take priority over sales and other business calls.

  • Send your messages and orders by fax instead of the phone. 

  • Become more Internet and computer savvy.  Work with a Webmaster that responds easily by e-mail for quick changes and updates. Organize your market buys and orders on your computer. 

  • Record and print all checks from your computer.  Anything you can do by hand, you can do more efficiently on your computer.  Invest in the time to continually update your computer programs.  It will payoff in the long run.

Touch mail only once.
Open, categorize and file mail the moment it comes in the door.

Just say no.
This can sometimes be the hardest task of all.  This is a business you are running, if you take away from your valuable time, you take away from the success of your business.

Keep it uniform.
Create uniform letters, market lists, credit reports, order forms, etc.  Keep these in an easy accessible file or saved on your computer.

Start to be more productive today!
Now, take a few moments and think about your important projects.  Take the time to think about prioritizing each day.  Make it a habit to schedule your day and track your time usage.  Begin working at peak performance from this day forward.

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Bio: Debbie Allen is one of the worlds leading authorities on sales and marketing.  She is the author of five books including Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters and Skyrocketing Sales.  Debbie has helped thousands of people around the world attract customers like crazy with her innovative, no-cost marketing strategies and secrets to sales success.  Her expertise has been featured in Entrepreneur, Selling Power and Sales & Marketing Excellence.  Sign up for her FREE 6-week e-Course Business Success Secrets Revealed ($97 value) and take the online business card quiz to rate your marketing online now at