As a retailer, you’re no stranger to pulling marathon shifts in order to achieve your business objectives. And because our goal at Thriftcart is to provide you with information that will make your life easier, we’ve collected 4 time management tips—that other retailers use—to help you spend your time more wisely and accomplish the things that contribute to your bottom line.
1. Schedule Your Priorities
While it may seem ridiculously simple, to-do lists can be very effective time management tools. Not only are they easy to create, but they do a good job of keeping you in line and making sure that important tasks don’t fall through the cracks.
It’s generally best to write your tasks down in advance. That way, you won’t waste time each morning trying to figure out what needs to be done that day. This also serves to mentally prepare you for each day, increasing your focus and purpose.
Make sure that your most important tasks are listed at the top, numbered or marked to indicate their urgency level. This will help you quickly recognize which items need your immediate attention.
Marginally or not-so-important tasks can be delegated to other staff members or postponed to a later date.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
~ Stephen Covey
“Learning to prioritize both long-term activities that gain momentum later in time, and short-term goals necessary for incremental results is critical, and requires careful planning,” says Entrepreneur.
2. Batch Your Tasks for Maximum Efficiency
As Be More Effective describes it, batching is the act of grouping similar tasks together—tasks that require similar resources, thought processes, or locations—in order to streamline your activities, making you more efficient and more effective. Batching increases your productivity, creativity, and mental sharpness, while decreasing fatigue, procrastination, and stress.
Switching gears between different tasks requires time and brainpower, so it’s best to perform similar or related jobs in the same block of time instead of spreading them out over the course of the day.
If you update your social media accounts on a daily basis, for example, you’d want use time management strategies like batching your tweets, Facebooks posts, and blog updates into one time block, rather than spacing them throughout the day.
When one batch is complete, take a planned break, then start with the next block of designated tasks. Get to know the foot traffic patterns of your retail store so you know which time periods are best for you and/or your employees to work on batched tasks and when everyone should be on the floor helping customers instead.
3. Automate Day-to-Day Processes to Streamline Operations
Retail businesses consist of many moving parts that can be overwhelming to juggle. But guess what? You don’t have to! With the right time management tools, you can automate and streamline your day-to-day business operations.
For example, if you spend a lot of time uploading inventory items to your online store, then entering them again into a separate POS, you might want to invest in an all-in-one, integrated POS and Website solution that will eliminate double entries, reduce human error and keep your inventory in sync.
While good business processes ensure the smooth operation of your organization, inefficient processes can result in frustrated employees, missed deadlines, non-compliance, lost opportunities, and upset customers, all of which can increase costs to the business.
Evaluate your day-to-day operations to see what’s holding you back and take the necessary steps to integrate and minimize as many processes as possible. With administrative functions running at peak efficiency, you’ll be able to reduce your operating expenses, widen your margins, and free up resources better spent on growing your business.
4. Offer the Best Employee Training Possible
According to a quote by Henry Ford, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
This statement will always retain its relevance. There isn’t a retailer out there who doesn’t want highly skilled sales associates on their team. After all, they simply don’t have the time to constantly put out fires or answer employee questions.
If that’s the way you’re spending your time, you may want to review and/or restructure your staff training program to ensure that you’re using practices that improve the retention of learning and information. Additionally, make sure training materials are readily accessible to your staff so they can refer to them whenever necessary.
When you offer thorough training to your staff, you’ll reap the benefits, which include:
- Increased employee satisfaction and loyalty
- High employee production value
- Reduction of mistakes resulting in lost time and money
- Happier customers
- An advantage over the competition
- Decreased turnover
Having highly trained staff members creates workers who are confident in their skills and are more likely to enjoy what they do, resulting in a better work environment.
Remember, an investment in your employees is an investment in your company!
Practicing Time Management Skills
For busy retailers with lots of hats to wear and tasks to juggle, having first-rate time management skills is crucial to business success.
If you don’t govern the clock, you’ll be governed by it, so you need to ensure that you spend your time wisely doing more of the things that contribute to your bottom line, as well as the growth of your company.