In theory, there is no difference between the principles of managing a large shoe department store or a small retail outlet near the metro at the basis of a manager's professional competencies. The similarities and differences between a manager, in whose subordination several tens or hundreds of people, and a private entrepreneur, for whom one or two salespeople work, do not relate to fundamental things. But the collision with reality, the daily activities of the store, highlight their accents. The resulting differences relate to both internal processes, that is, building relationships in the team, and external factors, namely: customer policy and the formation of a product line. But in any case, it remains unchanged that the effectiveness of any company begins with the correct management policy - with building relationships with internal and external customers.
It is known that, ultimately, 20% of employees bring 80% of the company's revenue. This conclusion is based on the Pareto principle, which states that 80% of the result is achieved by 20% of the costs. The main capital of the enterprise is people, therefore it is in your power to change this ratio.
Lack of time is a sign of poor leadership
In a small team it is easier to track which of the workers is a “chicken laying golden eggs”. In a large company, monitoring employee performance becomes a serious and sometimes laborious process, especially if transparency in relationships and hierarchies leaves much to be desired. Also, with the expansion of the team, the importance of time management increases, when the competent distribution of time spent on certain managerial problems and solutions determines the effectiveness of management.
Management, interaction, comprehension are the keywords that determine the management activity in any enterprise. The effective distribution of the time required to devote to each of the above areas of responsibility determines a competent leader. If the manager feels a lack of time - this is the main sign that he does not properly distribute responsibilities - both his own and those of his subordinates.
It's all about priorities
A competent distribution of responsibilities in the team, regardless of its size, depends on the ability of the leader to build transparent interaction schemes that ensure that the tasks are completed efficiently and on time. This is due to the ability to delegate authority and the general organization of labor. Relations with internal customers - that is, with their own employees - in a small team are built easier and more transparent. But this does not mean that the principles of their construction differ from the principles of managing a large team of employees.
The differences begin with prioritization. In a small store, the team consists of only a few people, in which one or two managers. Ways of making decisions and their implementation are a very simple scheme, and the director or administrator, sometimes, has to take, unpack and inventory the product himself. So most of the time is devoted to specific work issues, and instructions are given directly to the executors, rather than descending vertically from senior management to middle management.
Underwater currents, stones and peculiar “political games” inevitably arise in a large store in a team, for which there is no place where only a few people work. The increasing complexity of relations and an increase in the number of hierarchical steps makes managers invest more time in working with managers and build communication schemes within the team. Thus, it is not the principles of interaction that are changing: their application in practice and monitoring of compliance with the rules are complicated, and more and more factors influence the execution of these rules.
In a large team, the importance of the ability to properly delegate authority is increasing in order to avoid dispersion when tasks have to be personally controlled. If this is still possible for the owner of a small store, the practice of being responsible for everything at once and taking on everything in a large team leads to emotional burnout and, ultimately, to a decrease in the efficiency of the management scheme.
Do not control, but direct
A good habit for any leader, regardless of the size of the team, should be the desire in communication with employees to move from management to direction, support and, ultimately, the transfer of authority.
The first stage implies the least degree of responsibility of the employee. He automatically follows directions without showing his own initiative. For example, arranges goods on shelves in a certain order and transfers orders to the warehouse.
The second stage - direction - implies that the leader gives more general tasks, inside which variations are possible during their implementation. For example, the freedom to choose your preferred brand in window dressing. You can then evaluate the result, but do not stand above the soul during the task.
The third and fourth stages - support and transfer - imply the maximum degree of responsibility of the employee. He is responsible not only for the process, but also for the result. The manager supports him, advises what to do in difficult cases, but trusts the employee to make decisions himself in the process of completing one or another task.
Forget about perfectionism
And finally, if the leader correctly divided the responsibilities of subordinates and distributed tasks, he needs to remember one more danger - perfectionism. One cannot expect that tasks will be completed at 100 or 150 percent. You can’t make the same high demands on people as on yourself, and demand the impossible from them. Employees, like all people, can be wrong. In addition, everyone from nature has different abilities, temperament, endurance, finally, mental abilities and the degree of vivacity and flexibility of the mind. Therefore, you need to be prepared for the fact that even ideal workers can make mistakes. Any mistake can be corrected, especially if you solve the problem together.
Client as a center of attraction
And in a large and a small store, the central place is occupied by the sales process, direct interaction with customers. If in a small outlet almost all employees are directly involved in sales, then in a large team with insufficient control, the number of those who hide behind the artificial mountains of paper work and reduce their participation in the sales process may increase. As a result, the amount of time that is spent directly on solving operational problems is reduced, which again brings us back to the topic of delegation of authority and transparent leadership methods.
As for working directly with customers, the differences between a serious business and a small store begin with the characteristics of the target group. A large store expects a significant influx of people into the trading floor, which contributes to sales, but reduces the ability to differentiate and get to know the customer better. The approach to communication with the buyer in this case is standardized and for the most part depersonalized, because the percentage of regular customers in the total flow is not so large, and the target group itself is very heterogeneous.
A small outlet is interested in regular customers who live in close proximity and often stop by, for example, walking past a store every morning to work. A small flow of customers facilitates the possibility of a personal approach and also allows the manager to pay more attention to specific customer needs, in accordance with this, forming a product line and an assortment matrix. In this regard, it may be beneficial to specialize the store in one or more target groups, for example, for children’s shoes or shoes for middle-aged and older buyers, if the store is located in a sleeping area, where many pensioners and families with children live.
A large store in its concept and design is aimed at a wide audience and most often cannot afford to be mono-brand or focus on only one target group. Here, research of the target group, focused on statistical indicators: gender, age, price preferences of customers, allows quick response to customer needs. The change in the trading series takes place here on the basis of the majority principle, when one client is nevertheless part of a large group.
If communication with customers at a small retail point, as mentioned above, is more often based on the principle of individual participation and personal communication, attention should be paid to those skills in a large store that allow the seller to quickly and correctly determine the type of customer, his needs and degree of readiness to fulfill purchase.
This means that the seller must be able to quickly focus on a prospective buyer, so as not to be scattered among several who may be set up just to “kill” time after trying on. It is also important that sellers train their ability to switch from one customer to another without “hanging” in a conversation with a visitor who is unhappy or disinterested in buying. At the same time, it is important not to go to the other extreme, when the attitude towards the client becomes completely impersonal, and personal communication turns into work on the conveyor.
Thus, the complication of all the basic processes in a large enterprise, compared with a small store, reveals those mistakes that were made in applying the basic principles of leadership both within the team and in building external interactions. With the growing number of employees, it is becoming increasingly important to comply with the principles of transparent leadership, pay attention to time management and competently delegate authority. The focus should also be on the sales process itself, as the basis for the financial stability of a retail trading company, which means that all the skills that help employees effectively interact with customers, whether they are regular guests, customers of a small store or an undifferentiated stream of motley and very different friends to a friend of a major shopping center customer.
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