Isn’t it amazing how quickly summer flies by? Didn’t it just seem like yesterday when the kids were bursting through the school doors, joyously hailing freedom from their studies? Now, the Back to School advertising has begun for companies such as Wal*Mart.
When it comes to small business ownership, there is never a break from learning (and sometimes it seems as if there is never a “time away” from the store).
But since we’re talking about school, fall is the perfect time to keep everyone on your team “in the know” with the following approaches to continuing their customer-related education – at all levels.
- Sales Start at the Front Door. Poise and personality reign supreme from the moment your business opens. Always be sure the first staffers your customers encounter are warm and welcoming. And remember, a friendly smile can “be seen” over the phone. Create a simple tips and pointers “cheat sheet” (did we say that?!) to remind your employees that pleasantries and good manners play a critical role with business basics: answering the phone, taking messages, and general office practices.
- Ensure Your Staff Knows the P&Ps. Everyone on your payroll should be well-versed in your business policies and procedures, commonly referred to as P&Ps. Schedule frequent lunch-and-learns to focus on specific topics so you can answer questions and make sure everyone is familiar with how your shop is run. Consider cross-training as well.
- Keep an Eye on Future Stars. Today’s high performers are tomorrow’s leaders. Invest in your future by investing your employees. Send your best and brightest to seminars that will increase their knowledge of the business as well as provide information that is appropriate to their level of work. Remind employees that information they learn at out-of-office sessions will need to be shared with staff at a later date, so they know going in what is expected of them.
- Focus on Management and Ownership, too. No one is exempt from learning. Be sure your top managers are current through executive level training and by attending industry events. And encourage your upper management to learn more as a way to better themselves. And yes, you as well.
In today’s small business arena, a little knowledge can go a long way toward keeping ahead of the competition and keeping customers coming through your door. Take a page from the youngsters heading back to school to set up learning sessions today.