So you have got your business up, running, and there is some routine to the whole thing whether you are a retailer, or own another sort of business. Congratulations! I applaud you and hope you are setting new goals each year, each month, each week, and each day.
What I want to discuss today is what happens the day that your business cannot be run by you alone anymore! The hiring process can be grueling work on many different levels and should not be taken lightly. I’m talking about acquiring the right people and forming relationships with everyone you depend on to make your store run, and in my case, it was my floor salespeople to my storefront commercial window cleaning service.
This is your business and your personal vision so it is important, especially when your employee is working face to face with customers, that person understands exactly what you expect. I always hoped I would hire someone like the person I became after many years of working, but this is not necessarily a positive thing for an owner.
In finding seasoned employees with drive and passion, you’ll learn it’s going to cost you. It also brings employees with opinions about how you run your store, what items you carry, and a history of how it may have been run better somewhere else. However, if a seasoned employee is going to help bring business and sell there’s your answer. Also, the trust level may be higher with someone who has worked retail and chooses to continue. If that is a top priority and it is in the budget, then, by all means, hire someone seasoned. These are the same employees who won’t let any customers leave without spending money which is the whole point.
I found that hiring those who are somewhere in the middle of seasoned and inexperienced work the best in small retail stores, and I will tell you why. These people have a sense of what to do, but you can mold them and by doing this make them invaluable.
Employees that have something to lose by not getting the job can be the best kind and I mean it for small retail purposes only. I cannot speak for other types of businesses. Be an example of what they should want to work toward. Show them your passion for what you do and invite them to be part of your world by making them feel important in every way of the job. This may sound like common sense, but it really is not which is sad.
True story to make my point. I have had two bosses in my personal history that both came from the same background, but the way that they made me feel about myself was really what kept me at the one job for 10 plus years. I worked at many retail jobs as a teenager so I had a basic knowledge of how it worked. I also had a natural talent to sell absolutely anything or anyone, so that helped me. This woman must have seen that in me and she really became like a mentor.
This wasn’t only because I was special, it was because she treats all of her employees this way. She taught by example and let me become the face of her store with customers, with reps from clothing companies, some marketing programs, and with all business dealings after years of me earning trust. I was one of her best employees, but most turned out to be good employees because she taught us her way and taught loyalty more than anything. She didn’t hire seasoned workers, she hired people that could be molded but who had passion and talent. She also paid her employees well so that they were not leaving to work for the competition. Smart.
The other person that I worked for came from a similar background as my mentor, but she was not the same kind of person. This owner hired one main manager to do the hiring and firing. In a small retail store, this was a bad idea (in my humble opinion.)
So anyway this “manager” was hired at a higher rate than the other workers to control the store. The people that were hired were all well seasoned from other sales positions and given policies, rules, and told how things were done much like a corporation. The problem is when you are not making the kind of money that one would in a corporate position, you must like the job in order to stay!! So the employees became competitive with one another in sales and all other aspects of the job and positioned all day for power. Terrible. Not only did I have a mid-life crisis way too early as a result, but also I didn’t last a year there! That was when I decided to start my own store and styling business.
I ran my little shop just like my mentor and we are still friends. I used her same clothing reps, same cc processing company, same contractor for clothing racks etc. I even used the same window washer, Saul, who became my friend when I worked for her many years ago. He would come from downtown LA once a week and wash the entire center of display windows. I would merchandise our window display mannequins every Thursday morning, and he would be on the other side of the window with his squeegee, so after many years of this, we became pals. This experience was another thing I have to thank my old employer for because I was allowed to have an opinion and use my own creativity.
Being in charge of those windows was another thing that gave me pride in the place that I worked and proved my importance to the business. Whereas at the other job I was mentioning there would have to be a manager approval for each window and display that was touched, with turns taken by different employees for weekly merchandising which bred jealousy and a bitter atmosphere.
The bottom line is to just remember you have the power to foster good energy in your hiring by the example you lead and by staying true to your vision in this business…..good luck!!