Source: Retail Minded
Small business owners stand out in the marketplace, offering customers a unique shopping environment that big box stores simply can’t achieve. While their product, store location, merchandising and overall ambiance weigh heavily on the success or failure of their business, their #1 attribution are employees.
People working in small, niche stores, salons, restaurants and other small businesses have a responsibility they may or may not even recognize – they are ambassadors to their store brand, often being “cheerleaders” in their local market for that particular business or even “experts” for some retail categories. Think about your local shoe repair store. Chances are the owner and team working with him are leaned on for more than just delivering a service, but rather leaned on to answer questions and help provide direction for customers in a variety of ways. Now imagine your local cupcake or ice cream shop. They may not be saving the world, but there’s a good chance they are creating a lot of smiles and helping shape family memories. That’s a role not to take lightly… and we’re certain any dedicated small business owner would agree.
The reality is, if you own a small business or work for a small business, your role far exceeds the job description you signed up. Your role also serves as an ambassador to all small businesses at large, and puts you in a position to help communicate with consumers unlike most employees of other retailers can. There are exceptions, of course, to this general assumption – but for the most part, being a small business employee is an honor.
To help maximize this role, empower your employees to be leaders in their responsibilities, advocates in your community and team players in your total business. Support them through education, offering them above and beyond what they need to know to best support your customers and your store inventory or services. Help them achieve personal growth, also, as they they grow within your business by showing them both appreciation and challenging them with more responsibilities. Finally, encourage relationships between your employees and your customers. Strong customer retention isn’t built around product alone. It’s built around outstanding customer service.