Employees are the true value and vision of your business. I see this as a entrepreneur and as a customer. You can make or break your business if you don’t hire the right people. They are what your customers see as they come through the door and as they leave. Making a great impression is all up to the person you’ve hired to represent you when you can’t be there.
In the Pet industry is can be difficult to find people to do the kind of work you’re offering, let alone one that shares your vision. Sometimes you have to find a way to encourage and bring out the commitment to your Business success with a little guidance and a few techniques. If you don’t it will no doubt be detrimental to your bottom line.
Small Business can’t compete with the big budgets of big box stores and all the access they have to training. However I have been in many big box stores, not just Dog Stores but others as well. The one thing many of these places have forgotten is continued staff training. They hire cheap labour and replace them as needed. They don’t really have a lot of commitment to long term staffing and the staff don’t have a long term commitment to them either.
This is where you, as a small business, can shine. When you’re there in your business with your employees, you need to be the leader and work at bringing out the best in them. The people that will ultimately be your voice when you’re not there.
Let me walk through a few easy low cost ways to work with your employees.
1. Hire only people that are passionate about your vision and share your values. If you don’t they will bring the others down around them.
2. Think outside the doghouse when putting the call out for new staff. Look for them in places that you would be. They will likely share your values.
3. Create a detailed application process on your website. If they are truly interested in the position they will fill it all out with great detail. If not then you weed out the less motivated people before you meet them.
4. Give them feedback. Be specific and make eye contact. Thanks Jane for cleaning up the stock room, it looks great. Rather than a quick thanks as they’re heading out the door. They need to know that you recognize their efforts specifically.
5. Smile. It really is contagious. There are a number of studies done on the importance and value of a smile. Teach your staff a principle that the Ritz Carleton uses. It’s called the 10/5 way. If a customer or staff is 10 feet away make eye contact and smile. If they are 5 feet away smile and say hello. You will be surprised at how this will effect your staff as well as your customers.
6. Recognize and reward. Money is not always the only reward. Find out what your staff are interested in and reward individually.
7. Create short training sessions at work. These can be done before or after open/close. Just 10-15 of training. It can be on sales, product knowledge, customer service etc. This will help keep staff feeling like you value them. Make them more willing to go the extra mile.
8. Pull the bad aid of quick. If a staff does not meet your requirements get rid of them. They can very quickly turn a whole team down the wrong path.
9. Be a mirror. Your employees should see in you what you want to see in them. If you are not practicing what you are teaching your staff will stop doing it as well.
10. Give them some responsibility. Allow them to make decisions that they feel will benefit your business. If they feel that they have some control they will feel empowered.
Leading employees can be a very challenging part of being an entrepreneur in the Business of Dogs. With a little creativity and commitment you can have a team that will emulate all that your goals and values in your Business.
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