Podcast 013: Theme Your Work Days – Wednesday – Connect! Educate! Read!

Block Scheduling – Theme your Days – Wednesday – Connect! Educate! Read!

This episode was taken from a LIVE Periscope Training: Episode 120

If you’re just joining us, today’s Scope is the fourth part of a series on Theming Your Work Week and in case you missed either the introduction, or the first 3 episodes, let me give you a very quick synopsis… 

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 from Timeless Traditions 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 this week.

Screenshot 2016-05-11 13.41.59It’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.

I do want to insert right hear a big shout out to my rock star friend and fellow retailer, Carol Keplinger, owner of Timeless Traditions in Overland Park, Kansas. She sent me a screenshot of the dashboard on her new MacBook Pro last night with perfect little sticky notes that she Themed her days on… I love it and of course, had to copy it right away! I’ll post a photo over on the Remarkable Retailer Facebook page so you can see how she did it. LOVE that our RR community is not only listening, but TAKING ACTION! Great job miss Carol!

OK, Back to today’s episode!

Today we’re going to focus on Wednesday’s theme: Connect! Educate! Read!

I have been a retailer for 33 years, in a very small town in central Kansas… Just for a little background, I actually grew up in southern California, in the LA area, and married a Buhler, Kansas boy…then found myself in the middle of nowhere for the past 33 years! Many of those first years, I felt very isolated, didn’t know very many other retailers, and built this business on a lot of trial and error, with many mistakes made along the way.

I give you this background to help you understand how much I value connection with other small business owners and retailers. Several years ago, I began to intentionally connect with other retailers. This takes effort and sometimes it can feel like trying to make a new friend in Junior High…but I want to encourage you to hang in there and reach out to others in your profession!

One of my first retail connections was over the phone lines through a mini-mastermind group that Bob Negan of Whiz Bang Training had done. I think there were 4 retailers plus Bob as our facilitator who met once a week on a group phone call. There was another attendee, a lady named Terri King, that I really resonated with… after the program ended we stayed in touch and bounced ideas back and forth, and after months of “phone-dating” planned to meet at the next market that we were both attending.

We have been uber-connected and supported each other in many ways since then. I have gotten to know Terri’s husband, ooh and ahh over her darling little grandson, met several of her staff members, and have learned so much from this lady! Through the years, Terri has introduced me to several of her retail friends, who have become my friends as well…I in turn, have introduced Terri to some rock-star retailers that I had connected with… Terri was one of the first members of our MasterMind Group, and I am so grateful for her!

These relationships don’t just happen. You must be intentional about reaching out and connecting with others. I would go for months at times and realize that I hadn’t really talked to anyone from the group of professionals I had met. There were times that I felt really alone, frustrated and burnt out while trying to do retail alone. Let’s face it, unless they are involved in the business, our family and circle of friends just do not talk in our retail language. They don’t care what your IAT is, how your last coupon or catalog performed, or what exciting new products you have ordered.

I decided to make it a part of my LIFE to reach out and connect with another retailer at least once per week, and in order to make that a HABIT, set Wednesday morning drive time (my drive time is only 8 minutes, by the way) to call another retailer. Usually these phone calls went out to someone east of Kansas because of the time difference, but over the last couple of years, I also call someone west of here in the afternoon.

I cannot even describe how valuable this has been to our business! First of all, those retailers you call are usually feeling just as lonely as you did and they love to hear from you. If you’re thinking, “I don’t even know anyone to call…how did she meet these people?” I exchange business cards with people I meet at market, or vendors, or sales reps. Many times I will make a little note on the card so I can remember what they looked like. Other times, I ask to take a photo with them, so I can remember. If you don’t know anyone, you can always give me a call…I love to talk retail!

OK, back to Wednesday and theming your week. So, although at this point, there’s really never a day that I’m not talking or texting with another retailer, I still set aside time on Wednesday to be INTENTIONAL about it. Last week I had a great conversation with Tami Anderson, owner of Tapestry Boutique in Winnemucca, Nevada. Yesterday, I reached out to Kristen Holbrook from the Mole Hole in Michigan…I had never met her, but follow her store through emails and social media. She does a great job!

The other part that makes Wednesday so valuable is that this is also the day that I try to watch tutorials, videos, take an online class, read blog posts, etc. I have always been a firm believer in educating yourself, and could make an entire year’s worth of Periscopes on that subject because the world is changing so rapidly, you must take time out of your week to FOCUS on EDUCATION!

Today’s ACTION Plan:

I want to be in full disclosure here…just in case you think that my week runs in perfect accord with what 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.

However, by theming your days, you know right where to get back on to get your most important work done! 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 exceptions!

 

Do the work! Get out a calendar and pencil in some major themes of work that you must get done on a weekly basis. Most everything you do will fall under 5 or 6 “umbrella themes.”

To quickly recap…Wednesday’s theme is Connect! Educate! Read!
(Leaders are Readers!)

Get specific! Instead of me just saying “On Wednesday I’m going to call someone”, I might say “On Wednesday I’m going to call Genia Vineyard & Connie Gauntt. I will also watch Michael Hyatt’s latest video, and will read 3 chapters in my current book, The Power of Habit.” This way I can check it off of my list and know I am accomplishing my goals.

Also, keep a folder on your computer or in a file with the names and contact information of other business owners that you meet, and make a note of when you talked to them last. Don’t put this off! Start to connect with someone in your profession TODAY! I cannot even stress enough how important this is to the long term success of your business.

If you would like to work with me to Build Daily Habits and grow your business, just go to the Remarkable Retailer Website and click on the “Work With Vicki” tab at the top. I would love to set up an appointment to “Talk Shop” with you!

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 Remarkable Retailer, let me introduce myself: my name is Vicki Adrian…I have been a 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 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!

Prefer to watch this episode on video? Just click image below!

Trade In Overwhelm for a Fresh Perspective

As a small business owner, there are often too many ideas, too many tasks and projects, too many orders to place, employees to hire, displays to be built, leases to be negotiated, emails to be written, research to be done, and not enough time or resources. Entrepreneurs are a creative bunch of people and we’re always thinking of new ways to grow our businesses.

@Fotolia Photography

There are only 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year, and if you’re in the midst of starting, running or growing your business, those hours and minutes fly by very fast. In this series, we’ve been talking about the overwhelm that we face on a daily basis, and some actionable steps we can take to overcome that feeling.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”

 

The late, great Stephen Covey presented this idea in his excellent book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. (A MUST READ for every business owner, btw!)

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!

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 008: Terri King ~ Creativity Reigns!

Terri King
Chief Creative Officer & Owner 
My Secret Garden ~ Bay City, Michigan

Today’s podcast guest is one of the most creative, gifted, savvy, smart and yes, REMARKABLE retailers that I have ever met, and she is a great friend and retail accountability partner! Terri King is the owner of My Secret Garden in Bay City, Michigan. Today you’ll hear some words of wisdom from this exceptional entrepreneur!

Terri King, My Secret Garden

Pure Imagination!
Terri brings passion and incredible creativity to her beautiful store in Bay City, Michigan.  Her store encompasses over 7,000 square feet and the displays are absolutely delightful!

Terri scours markets in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago, High Point and locally to bring the best selection of unique products to her customers. Constantly changing merchandise and displays keep My Secret Garden fresh and exciting!

She is highly respected within the Retail Community and has been featured in several publications including GiftBeat and the Off-Price Market Magazine, along with many articles in her local market area.  Her shop is a true destination shopping location for locals and those who travel to the Bay City, Michigan area. Her shop buzzes with creative displays and fun events for customers!
~Click “Continue Reading” for photos and details!

5 Strategies to Beat the First Quarter Retailer Blues

In the dim background of our mind, we know what we ought to be doing but somehow we cannot start.

~William James


Unless your business is located somewhere the Snowbirds flock to for the winter months like Florida, Arizona, California, or you’re running a business in a busy ski resort area, like me, you may experiencing a bit of the First Quarter Retailer Blues.

Where just one month ago, you couldn’t find a parking space within several city blocks, the streets and parking lots are now mostly empty, and our shoppers are snuggled up at home.  This is always disheartening to me and it seems that even after being an independent retailer for 32 January’s, I tend to struggle with my confidence as a business woman during these first couple of months of the year. This post really is a first quarter 2015 To-Do list for myself as I need a bit of coaching to remind me to get my mind back in the game! Like the quote above relates, I know what I ought to be doing, I just need to GET STARTED!

Podcast 007: Molly Wilson ~ Rock Star Entrepreneur!

Today’s Remarkable Retailer episode features an interview with long time friend and exceptional entrepreneur, Molly Wilson who owns molly & drew – The Beer Bread Company.

Screenshot 2014-12-30 20.14.03

The Beer Bread Company’s fearless leader is a small-town girl with a big-city spirit. After ten years in retail, she brought that spirit, heart, and experience to her new role as owner of molly & drew. Molly’s young family is ‘on the team’ – daughter Samantha loves to add strawberry soda to American Original Beer Bread Mix while her son Wilson craves the BLT dip with crackers.

molly & drew had their beginning in small-town Iowa with 100 bags of homemade beer bread mix at a craft show. Today, they’re in thousands of retail stores around the country, BUT they’re still inspired by the small town values and work ethic that started them on this amazing journey.

“Born and BREAD (we couldn’t resist!) in the heartland, our products, just like our people, are INSPIRED! We are inspired daily by our families, our friends, our work, and our customers.” ~Molly

If you listened to Remarkable Retailer’s Podcast Episode 006, you heard about our decision several years ago to set our store apart by offering gourmet foods and totally committing to that department as a way to enhance the shopping experience for our customers at Adrian’s Boutique. molly & drew – The Beer Bread Company has been an important part of our gourmet department and a consistent top seller!

I think you will LOVE this interview! Be sure to stay till the end where we’ll have a special offer from Molly and some great tips for the upcoming Atlanta Market.