Wearing Lots of Hats
A Retailers Guide to Better Time Management
By Debbie Allen, All Rights
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 they’d made better use of the time they were given.
Keys to Better Time
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.
Stick to your plan and complete the top priority projects. Don’t
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
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. Don’t take phone calls; use this time to do more creative and
focused work. Reverse this schedule if afternoon is more productive for
Set up a schedule by
taking a long-term view of your calendar. Don’t 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
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.
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.
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
Touch mail only
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
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 world’s
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
Selling Power and
Sales & Marketing Excellence.
Sign up for her FREE 6-week e-Course
Business Success Secrets Revealed ($97 value) and take the
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