Greet Each New Day, Employee and Customer with a Smile
The past few weeks have been particularly difficult for many independent retailers, even by the last year's standard. June was a pretty soft month for most independents. Whether you chalk it up to the weather, resurgent gas prices, fears over losing a job or having just lost a job, or even the steady drumbeat of negative economic news, it's been a bad month.
I can see it in the faces and hear it in the voices of the clients I work with. The past year has worn down so many owners, leaving them with a fatigue that's pretty hard to shake. Some have watched the monthly erosion in their financial positions from weak sales and margins, and are genuinely afraid. The world seemingly has been turned upside down; what was once up is now down, and what was down is now up.
This fatigue and fear are completely understandable, but one month does not dash a recovery. We all know in the broader picture that the recovery is going to be a long, slow slog, but that doesn't mean that each of our individual recoveries has to be that way. Many may feel like a small boat in a raging sea, but each still has the ability to command their future.
Greet each new day with a smile, and the resolve to do whatever has to be done today to move the ball further down the field. One day at a time. Reconnect with the passion that built the business in the first place, and the determination to overcome whatever obstacles are in your way.
Greet each employee with a smile. They take their cue from you. If they sense fatigue and fear, listlessness and trepidation will spread like an epidemic, sapping all the energy right out of the business. Re-ignite their passion with your passion, keep them in the moment and challenge them greet each customer as a fresh opportunity to shine.
Greet each customer with a smile. They are fatigued and afraid just like you are. One of the reasons they're in your store is to escape the drumbeat and the dreariness, if only for that moment. Engage each one, connect with each one and re-energize them with your passion. Give them something to believe in, to rally to, however small that something may seem in the larger scheme of things.
Times are tough. It's easy to get overwhelmed in the grand sweep of things. Things are going to get better, and there's no time better than now to start to make that happen, one day at a time, one employee at a time, one customer at a time.