Hardware Retailing

JAN 2019

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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January 2019 | HARDWARE RETAILING 53 Recommended Books If you'd like to learn more about time management, both Mike Goldsby and Byron Clouse have books they recommend you read. Getting Things Done By David Allen "This guide will lay the basic foundation for how to structure your time. It helps you learn the art of stress-free living." —Mike Goldsby gettingthingsdone.com The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It By Michael E. Gerber "This book inspired me to create a plan for my employees that helps us deliver a consistent customer experience." —Byron Clouse michaelegerbercompanies.com Don't accept a way of doing business simply because it is a tradition. Is a certain business practice stressing your time? Consider ways you can change. • Do the Least Desirable Task First If you're like most people, you're most motivated to do the things you enjoy doing and the least motivated to do what you don't enjoy doing. Undoubtedly, some days will have that one task you dread doing, and therefore more than likely you'll procrastinate doing it. Put that task at the top of your list so it's done first. Chance are, if you put that undesirable task off as long as you can, you're going to waste time worrying about it. Good time management, says Goldsby, is spending less time doing what stresses you and more time doing what you enjoy. "Get those stressful tasks out of the way first and it will make you feel lighter the rest of the day," he says. "You will also have that sense of accomplishment in having completed something difficult." • Learn to Delegate If you're trying to manage your time and continue to feel overwhelmed, or if you feel like you're still in a reactive mode, something may be wrong. Maybe you're simply trying to do too much and you need to delegate, Clouse says. "You cannot do it all," he says. "You have to be able to let go and have good people help." With multiple retail locations, Clouse does not have time to be hands-on at every level of the business. He checks in with managers at each location every week, but generally lets them manage the day-to-day tasks. Time management isn't just about your own time; it's learning to manage your employees' time as well. While Clouse advises against micromanaging employees, he does think it's beneficial to have some tools in place that can help your employees be productive. He has created guidelines employees can utilize to remind them how they should manage their day. These checklists include everything from punching the timeclock to reminding them to ask open-ended questions when they're waiting on customers. "By having a plan of expectations and tasks, I'm helping them manage their time," he says. "But it's also important to show how to balance that with customer service. We don't want them to become so task-oriented that they forget the customer." Learning to delegate also means training and empowering people down the ladder of responsibility to do more on their own. "You may need to teach employees to do more problem solving on their own, instead of always relying on the manager," says Goldsby. For example, some employees may rely on senior members of the staff, or even the owner, to answer a customer's question. While in some cases this may be necessary, very often it results in using the time of two employees for a task that should be handled by one. Offer product knowledge training to employees so they are prepared to handle questions on their own. Byron Clouse successfully integrated a grocery store and a hardware store in Oscoda, Michigan, giving locals a one-stop-shop in a 43,000-square-foot building.

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