Being self-employed does not mean you never have to talk to another person again. When you run your own retail business, communication is one of the key factors to success. Whether you have a small team of two people or a large group of dozens of helpers, consider the following strategies to improve your communication.
Choose the Right Software
The right software can make communication better for a retail business of any size. You need a product that makes it easy to share information among different team members, so look for software built on a strong platform. For example, Zipline's retail communication software works on mobile and desktop devices, includes a calendar, daily checklist, resource library, internal surveys and chat features for members.
Good software can tell each of your retail team members exactly what to do without overwhelming them. They receive only the information they need to work. You stay in control by assigning tasks, checking on inventory and delegating everything else.
Create a Culture of Transparency and Trust
A retail business cannot thrive without transparency. Although you do not have to share every intimate detail of the company with your staff, it is important to be honest and break down silos. You can create a culture of transparency by admitting mistakes, sharing results and showing trust.
In addition to having an open door policy, which means people can always come to you for help, you may want to invest in team building events. These events can improve trust for small or large teams. For instance, TeamBonding offers paid indoor and outdoor activities, such as painting a mural or going on a scavenger hunt.
Whether one of your team members had a baby or had an important work anniversary, it helps to celebrate their accomplishments. Consider making an announcement to the whole team about an event and using it as a way to bring everyone together. To streamline this process, think about signing up for a subscription service like ProGifter that allows you to schedule flower deliveries in advance.
Another way to celebrate accomplishments is to hold an official awards ceremony to honor each person who helps your retail business. You can offer certificates, gift cards or other prizes. Small tokens of appreciation like flowers and food baskets are also a good way to show people that you care about them and can communicate your gratitude.
Create a Daily Huddle
Huddles are daily opportunities for everyone in your business to come together before the workday starts and collaborate. You can make it five minutes, 15 minutes or longer. The goal is to set the mood for the rest of the day and discuss top priorities. Even if you only have a team of two people, huddles can still help you.
At its core, a huddle is a short meeting. You can conduct them in person or online through video conferencing software. After checking in with each team member, you can talk about progress or tasks that need to be accomplished. Each team member can have the opportunity to talk or share something quickly. Consider having everyone stand during the huddle because it keeps the meeting short.
Set Aside Time for Individual Conversations
Daily huddles are a great way to communicate with your entire team. However, you also want to set aside time to talk to people individually. Not everyone is comfortable discussing things in a group setting, and you want to make sure that you hear all of the problems. A one-on-one chat is an easy way to discover what is really happening in your retail business among the workers and how each one feels. Keep your door open and consider creating a schedule for regular conversations with your team members.
Set an Example
The people you work with are always watching you, so you have to set a good example for communication. Not only do you have to be polite and professional, but you have to say the right things. Although everyone makes mistakes, a retail business can be destroyed through gossip and a bad reputation.
Remember to listen to your team members because understanding what others say is just as important as talking. Also, keep your communications, like emails or speeches, short and clear. You can be confident in a conversation without arrogance. Make sure your conversations are friendly when it is appropriate and respectful.
For a retail business, communication is essential for survival and success. Team members must be able to share information quickly, such as inventory running low or a loss prevention problem. Having the right software, building trust and transparency, celebrating accomplishments, daily huddles and individual conversations are all important. In addition, setting an example for your team by communicating effectively and confidently will help your entire business.