Podcast 014: Theme Your Work Days – Thursday – Weekend Prep, Marketing

This Podcast was recorded from a LIVE Periscope. Episode 121

Theme Your Work Days
If you’re new to the Remarkable Retailer, today’s episode is the fifth part of a series on Theming Your Work Week and in case you missed either the introduction, or the first 4 episodes, you can easily get caught up by listening going back to Podcast Episodes 010 – 013 right here on the Remarkable Retail Blog.

Several months ago I implemented a simple technique that has helped me become more efficient, get more done and makes my life a little less hectic. After a conversation with my friend & colleague, Carol Keplinger, owner of  Timeless Traditions in Overland Park, Kansas last week, I recorded Episode 117 as an overview of how to block schedule your work, and have decided to focus on this subject on our scopes each day this week.

It’s called theming your days.

Whether you love planning and execution or hate it, theming your days can help you do both without having to hold actual planning sessions and meetings with yourself every day. There’s nothing complicated about it…in fact, this has become a habit in my life that has almost become second nature. Although never perfect, it is a way that even when you are super busy and can be pulled into a million directions, it brings you back into focus, at least once per day.

Screenshot 2016-05-15 16.57.09Action Takers
I love that our listeners are taking ACTION by theming their days…Yesterday Carol sent a screenshot of her computer with one Sticky Note on her Dashboard for each day of the week, along with the THEME for each day.

Here’s what Carol said, “I thought the sticky notes would help me stay focused. If I am working on financial projects on Monday but remember an idea for an email, I can just hit the “hot corner” on my laptop which takes me to my “sticky notes” and add it to my Creative Tuesday note. Then, I can get straight back to work and not have to worry about forgetting something important. This won’t take place of my calendar but it will hopefully take place of all the pieces of paper on my desk! Have listened to your “Theming Your Work Days” Periscope series several times and keep getting good ideas. Keep up the GREAT WORK!”

Of course, I copied her right away and posted a photo of my dashboard on the Remarkable Retailer Facebook page yesterday so you could see it…a picture’s worth a thousand words right???

Another simple tool that goes along with the Theming your Days concept is file folders. Yes, plain old file folders, or if you’re like my friend, Carol, super fancy, awesome file folders! I keep a file folder with a label for each day of the week, Monday – Saturday in my desk drawer and drop in pieces of paper or information that I would use on those particular themed days. It gives you a place to corral all of those lose papers (although you wouldn’t know it to look at my desk today!). That idea is from David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done” that I read a couple of years ago.

Today we’re going to focus on Thursday’s theme: Weekend Prep & Marketing

In our business, our Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are slower, and business picks up Thursday, Friday & Saturday. This is why in the “Theming Your Days” plan that I use, the first part of the week is used for concentrated, detail work. Financials on Monday, Email & Social Media Marketing on Tuesday & Connection – Building professional relationships & education on Wednesday. Things change later in the week! The last half of the week we are busier with customers in the store, getting ready for weekend events, sometimes we have an outside retail show on the weekend, etc.

Screenshot 2016-05-15 17.07.35So here’s what our Themed Thursday looks like: Take a look at what will be going on for the weekend (we call the weekend Thursday, Friday & Saturday) in our shop. Do I have signage made for special offers? Do we have an event going on that requires extra food or drinks to be prepared? Is the store looking clean and organized for the weekend? Our teammate that does most of the decorating works Monday through Wednesday, and products keep rolling in the back door, so we may work on displays, getting merchandise to the warehouse, etc.

Thursday is also the day that I am double-checking our social media presence for the weekend. I try to have my iPhone handy and take photos of groups that are coming to shop together…I email the guest a copy of the photo, then post it to our store’s Facebook page as well. Our customers love to see real people out having fun!

Screenshot 2016-05-11 16.19.10We pre-populate our Facebook page with 2-3 posts per day on Tuesday, then pop in more “LIVE” type of posts as the week rolls along, and Thursday is a great day to focus on gathering photos of customers, new arrivals and materials to get that done.

Sandy, our gourmet guru will also take a look at our gourmet inventories and choose a dessert or soup or other item to sample over the weekend. So the good news is, Thursday’s Theme is a little “looser” than the first days of the week, but it is important to stay focused on what moves your business forward…and that is TAKING CARE of your CUSTOMERS! J

Today’s ACTION Plan:

Like I’ve pointed out in previous episodes, I want to be in full disclosure here…just in case you think that my week runs in perfect harmony with the themes I have on each day, it just doesn’t work out like that! My life has it’s fair share of craziness just like yours does. Things go wrong. Ice Storms Hit. A staff member gets sick. You have a week of market and get off schedule…that’s real life.

Screenshot 2016-03-06 17.10.53However, by theming your days, you know right where to get back on to get your most important work done! Another thing to keep in mind is that if you get “off schedule” you just start back with today’s theme! Make up only those tasks that are essential to running your business and move along…you will catch up next week.

Also, I don’t spend all day working only on the “theme” for that day. The change I have made though, is that I am not jumping around from theme to theme as I know that if it is marketing work, it will be done on Tuesday. If it is financial, I will take care of it on Monday, etc. Of course, there are always going to be exceptions and you must personalize this to your business!

Yesterday I had a sales rep in who was trying to catch up her crazy life after being at Market for several days. She was dealing with email overload, orders, sales calls, being back on the road, etc. We talked for a little bit about Theming for her business, and I think it really made sense to her, even on the rep side of our business. She travels 3-4 days a week, every week, and I think theming would be so helpful to her!

Whatever business you are in, I would encourage you to give “Theming” a try! Our goal is to encourage retailers and entrepreneurs to have a successful business and a somewhat well balanced life.

Screenshot 2016-05-05 08.58.49I know TIME is your MOST VALUABLE ASSET, and I never want to waste a single minute… THANK YOU so much for joining me today! I love being a part of this group of Remarkable Retailers!

My goal is to bring daily energy, experience and insight along with tips and tactics to help you grow your business!

If you’ve just discovered these Podcasts, or our Remarkable Retailer Scopes, let me introduce myself: my name is Vicki Adrian…I have been the small business owner of Adrian’s Boutique in the community of Buhler, Kansas for over 33 years. I love to brainstorm and bring experience and insight to help small business owners work through challenges and thrive in today’s economy. I believe that the BEST way to build a successful business is to create a Rock Solid Client List and then to take care of those customers for life!  

If you would like to work with me to Build Daily Habits and grow your business, just click the tab above that says “Work with Vicki”  where you can set up an appointment to “Talk Shop” anytime!

Prefer to watch the video instead? Just click below:

10 Ways to Engage with your Clients TODAY!

Genuine Engagement!

One of the things that sets independently owned businesses apart from the cookie cutter chain stores is that we are more likely to converse and engage on a personal level with our clients.  At least that is the goal of most store owners and managers!  However, unless you have a PLAN that can be executed, and your team knows exactly what you are expecting from them in the area of customer interaction, this important technique for building a Rock Solid Client List may not be happening in your business.

Remarkable Retailer-2Have you strategically engaged with your clients today, this week, this month?  Today, we’re going to talk about 10 Ways you can Engage with Your Clients TODAY! 

We’ve been talking about Customer Service being the PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY of every member of your team from the CEO down to the people on the front line.  So today, we’re going to share some ideas for how each person on your team can contribute to improving your Client Engagement.

 

Our first 5 are ways we can engage with our clients BEHIND THE SCENES, and the second 5 are ways we can engage with our clients when they are INSIDE our business.

Countdown to 10 Top Ways you can Engage with Your Clients TODAY!

A Peek inside my Toolbox… Software: Part Two of Two

You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow.
~Unknown


Software
There is new software on the market every single day that is promising to make your life easier, run your business smoother, and all you need to do is provide your credit card information.  I have personally purchased many software programs over the years that were above my ability to learn how to use them, or just were not a good fit for retailers. Today, I’m going to introduce you to a few programs that we use on a daily basis whether we’re working at home or traveling.

I want you to know that my qualifications to recommend these products come ONLY from using them.  I don’t hold a degree in computer technology, computer science or programming.  These are all software solutions to problems I have experienced as a retailer.

I know there are plenty of choices out there with both hardware and software, and this list is by no way, exclusive.

Tools that travel well are very important to our business! As the owner and buyer for our retail store, I spend plenty of time on the road at markets, seminars and other business meetings during the year, but we also take our store “on the road” and set up shop to sell at retail Women’s Shows, regional Art & Craft Fairs, and the Kansas State Fair.

Great tools allow me to continue to stay in touch with our clients and staff and do the marketing work that is important to our business no matter where we are in the country!

We’re going to jump right in and explore some of my favorites!

Lessons Learned from a Taco Trailer

Welcome to El Parasol!


I’ve discovered throughout my life, every family is different. In fact, one of the life lessons we tried to teach our children was that “Every Family Is Weird” and especially OURS! This was to prepare them for life and eventually marriage to someone from another family that has its own idiosyncrasies, and also to save us from embarrassment when they were little.

Road Trips
One thing our weird family enjoys is Road Trips, and as small business owners, we have always done our best to support local restaurants, both at home and on a road trip, along with staying at local hotels, and shopping at local businesses. Our track record with choosing local is pretty good as most local businesses cannot survive if they are not doing things right…at least they don’t survive for very long!

Keeping it Local
We have found that the very best place to find out where the stellar local eateries are is to stop at a fruit stand.  As the owners of fruit stands are the same people who supply restaurants with FRESH produce, these people have an inside track to the very best locally owned restaurants, and they know “fresh & local” like no one else!  This is exactly how we arrived at El Parasol in Espanola, New Mexico many years (and many road trips) ago.

Introduction to El Parasol
Now, El Parasol is not somewhere you would choose from it’s elegant exterior.  It is an 8’ x 10’ Taco Trailer that has somehow that has been serving local and regional visitors for over 50 years now. The food is amazing, the service extraordinary and this tiny Taco Trailer is legendary.

Podcast 009: TJ Reid ~ The FASHION Advantage

“So glad you’re here!”

With her warm southern accent and lady-like charm shining through, this is the way today’s guest, TJ Reid, greets store owners as they arrive at one of her many seminars across the country. Today, I am excited to introduce you to a woman who is one of America’s most knowledgeable experts on the topics of fashion retail, small business, promotions, advertising, and customer service.

Fashion AdvantageT.J. Reid has commanded over 2,000 successful workshops, written many best-selling retail business books, and is now Editor/Publisher of FASHION ADVANTAGE, the only magazine for small specialty stores, in its 26th year of publication with thousands of readers throughout the U.S.A. and Canada. FASHION ADVANTAGE is considered “The voice of today’s small retailer.”

I have personally been a long time subscriber to Fashion Advantage and read each issue from cover to cover.  TJ’s knowledge and hands-on advice comes from her over 50 years of experience (she started very young!) in this industry as a small store owner, QVC on-air personality, buyer, accessory designer, sales trainer, special events planner,  and consultant. (Add wife & mother!)  Click the link above to listen to the interview.

Podcast 006: 5 Great Reasons to Get Going With Gourmet!

Be Our Guest!

I am on the same journey and quest to become a Remarkable Retailer that you are on…and have tried many different approaches to product selection over the years, but one decision that we made many years ago has continued to pay off in a variety of ways. To be a Remarkable Retailer or an Exceptional Entrepreneur, you must step outside of your comfort zone and do something that other businesses are NOT doing!

Honey Apple Pecan Dessert

Honey Apple Pecan Dessert…Click Image for Recipe

Zig when everyone else Zags!

My friend and co-worker, Sandy Brooks gave me a book titled “Crazy is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging when everyone else Zags” by Linda Rottenberg (I mentioned this in an earlier post as well), and I think adding a Gourmet & Kitchenware department to your existing store may seem a little “Crazy” to some store owners. However, you need to take steps to set your store apart from all of the other cookie-cutter businesses that are out there!

That one decision I mentioned earlier was the decision to commit to a Gourmet Foods/Kitchenware Department in our retail store, stop dabbling in gourmet foods and take our selection and our service to a new level. We made this decision several years ago and it has been a game changer for our store!  It changes the atmosphere of your business when you offer drinks and a small snack to the customers shopping in your store.

Today we’re going to talk about 5 Great Reasons to Go Gourmet!!!

Podcast 005: Q&A ~ Crazy is a Compliment!

In the end, mastering the art of entrepreneurship is not simply about starting a business. It’s about taking chances, overcoming doubts, managing risk, dealing with chaos, cultivating employees, coping with stumbles and successes, integrating work and family, and paying it forward to ensure that the next generation can dream big as well.  And it’s realizing that all those people calling you crazy are giving you a huge compliment! ~ Linda Rottenberg from “Crazy is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging when Everyone Else Zags”

Florist working on laptop

I am so thankful to the retailers who are listening to this Podcast, and appreciate the fact that they are willing to listen even while I am learning to “find my voice” as a new Podcaster.

My desire is to bring real world inspiration and education to retailers and entrepreneurs who may be struggling with different issues in their business.

This week a listener sent an email with several questions and I am honored to try to give some feedback. Here are a few of the questions along with  my responses.  You can read this synopsis, or just listen to the podcast.

What did you include in the goodie bags for the fashion shows ?
This time we had a cute Houndstooth Bag with Pink & Black Tissue, which tied into our table decor and the Vera Bradley lead up to the new Houndstooth pattern coming in December.  Inside we had a Thymes Frazier Fir votive candle (which we can only order once per year for promotional purposes. They are FABULOUS!  We had purchased some really nice necklaces/earring sets on clearance, then we included a cute scarf in each of the bags.  We also included a $10 off $10 purchase for the store Gift Certificate.