Show me a business that doesn’t assess itself and I’ll show you a business that isn’t maximizing sales and profitability. In other words, if you don’t know where you’ve been, how will you know where you’re going to?
So many small businesses fail to run reports, analyze those reports, then proactively make changes to their business. And that causes them to minimize their ability to be as successful as they can be.
Enter the need to have a weekly meeting with the team. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a retail store or any other type of business, the need to bring the team into the fold and share information is of critical importance so everyone understands where the business is at.
A well-informed team is a motivated team. Employees crave information more than anything else. Business owners who horde that information and share little will find their employees less happy and less productive. How can you ask a team to achieve goals if they don’t know whether they achieved those goals last week or not? How can you ask a team to make changes to the business when they don’t understand where the business is going? It’s all about sharing information. And the more the better.
Don’t question, do it. I’ve worked with some business owners who don’t understand the need for all the analysis. They believe that if you turn up sales, everything will be okay. To some extent that’s true. But if you have low margins and turn up sales, then you’re not making much more profit. If you turn up sales and turn up expenses, the same thing holds true. If you turn up sales but you’re still not doing any sales between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., then why aren’t you closing for those two hours. Only with detailed analysis do you start to gain the insights across all areas of your business that can truly make it more successful.
Make the meeting sacrosanct. Too often businesses plan the meeting and then plan something else right over the top of it. As time goes on that meeting occurs less and less frequently. That’s a dangerous game. Make the meeting sacrosanct. It doesn’t matter who has what to do -- they can surely carve out an hour and work other meetings, calls and appointments around that meeting time. Set the meeting, then hold people accountable for showing up (and showing up on time).
Go long and deep. It's always better to share more information than to share less. Start by segmenting the meeting into topics or departments, then set an agenda and list items for every single one of those main areas. For retailers, it can be everything from sales review to gross margin review to a review of the marketing promotion you ran to a run-through of your top selling 25 skus to a review of the new brand you brought in a launched last week. And don’t forget about a financial review each month.
Create a game plan. Assessing all areas of your business is indeed a waste of time if you don’t do anything with it. Creating the agenda for the meeting each week is important. And so is creating the action plan based on the meeting. So what if that new brand you brought in isn’t selling? What are you going to do about it? Establish a task list, set deadlines, then hold your team responsible for achieving it. A few weeks of doing this and everyone will be on board, marching in the same direction and to the same beat (and hopefully your business morphs as you go through the process).
How are you going to make your business more successful and sharing information with your team?
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