It’s easy to scoff at the idea of a retail position and think of it as a job that goes nowhere. But many a successful business owner started their career in the trenches of retail stores. Some stayed within the organization to reach the corporate level, while others moved onto other corporations and brought their knowledge with them. Their success comes from what they learned from their jobs at the retail level and implemented into their own work ethics, visions, and ability to adapt. Following are three important lessons succesful business owners learned from their time on the floor.
Logistics is the transportation of goods from the distribution center to the dock and from the dock to the selling floor. Goods get to the distribution center from their manufacturer and then need to get to the store. A large department stores has a distribution center that is used as a temporary holding location for the goods. A semi-truck picks up the shipment and takes it to the designated store. Once it reaches the store, it has to get to the floor.
It seems trivial to understand logistics, but it’s the most vital part of running a business. Getting the goods to the customer is how product gets sold, and if it’s not on the floor, it can’t get sold.
Focus on the Customer
The customer is sometimes the best and worst part of the retail experience. There’s an emphasis in retail on making sure the customer is satisfied, but it can go by the wayside in large stores. Always remember that no matter how bad things get with a customer, you still need to make sure they had a good experience shopping in the store. It’s a lesson you’ll take with you when your own business is growing and you need to maintain a good rapport with your customers.
While you may not be dealing with people directly at some point, you can train your employees to handle situations the way you did. Be patient, be polite, and make sure that the customer is addressed nicely even if they’re angry.
Take Care of Your Talent
Your employees are the face of your business. You want them to treat customers well, sell your products, and make sure the whole experience was a good one for everyone involved. Your employees’ attitudes start at the top and work their way down. What this means is that you need to set the tone for the entire operation. Don’t tolerate bad attitudes from managers, and don’t let hijinks go down because someone is petty. Nip lousy behavior in the bud, care about the people who work for you, and they’ll take care of you in return.
These are some of the building blocks of business that retail teaches. It’s a form of education that doesn’t require schooling to learn fully. And even if those days of retail are far behind you, remember and draw upon your experiences, and then apply them to your business.