I cannot wait to get through these mid term elections. I mean, these commercials are getting annoying. It seems like these past few years have been just one very long campaign season.

Once we shelf the campaign ads for at least a few months, along comes the ads for holiday sales. With this comes the numerous Black Friday leaks and the ongoing debate of… do we stay open for 24 hours beginning Thanksgiving or not?

The retail world will have already spent months on developing the right and most effective promotions. They will have spent months developing the perfect merchandising strategy all themed out to entice the holiday shoppers.

They will also have spent their time beefing up their staff for the expected increase in sales. However, these days… you never know what to expect.

One thing is for sure, there will be no lack of candidates in the pool of choice to staff their stores. With this, there is NO excuse to settle for the wrong candidate that offers an AWFUL experience.

All it takes is a few of these bad experiences and you just saw all that time, money, and effort you placed into that hot advertising campaign go to waste.

In this, I wonder how much of this preparation will entail addressing these two critical retail components that sadly, have become a lost art?

1. The importance of service that sets you a part and reflects a personal touch.

2. An environment that reflects energy.

If I were in retail today, I would make this a priority. I would take the questions I am about to pose to my staff and document their responses. I would then hang them up in the break room and hand them out to each staff as a reminder of what we WILL be.

This has the potential to become your culture. But for it to become your culture, you need to be the culture. And beyond that, this just may be the very thing that keeps your doors open another day.

What does energy look like in a retail store?

What effect does it have on people?

How is this energy created?

Who is responsible for this?

What does service that sets you a part look like?

How do our attitudes and that of our teams play a role in both service and energy?

I would also add to this list two excellent discussion starters and reality checkpoints…

1. List Top Ten Reasons a Guest Would Never Return to Your Store – list solutions for each of the ten reasons

2. List Top Ten Reasons a Guest Would Visit Your Store and Leave without Making a Purchase – list solutions…

These are critical and yet simple questions that can give both you and your staff a vantage point that might lead you to the next level.

Taking the time to actually talk about these things, document them, pass them out, reflect them, act on them, and consistently coach your staff on them could make all the difference.

In this, you must be relentless in your pursuit. And, hopefully in this…you may gain a clearer perspective of what is truly important as you seek to set yourselves a part and achieve business success from a reputation standpoint as well as a bottom line profitability standpoint.

Of course, there are other crucial areas as well with regards to managing your business. (i.e. payroll, food costs, margins, supplies, rent, CAM charges, etc.)

I guess what it all comes down to is that if your store closed…would anybody notice?

What makes you special?

What makes you important?

What sets you apart?

In this, find our competitive edge and run with it.

Running a business is a tough place to be these days and it takes a lot to make them work. But, I believe that if you have the right people that are in the right seats of the bus with the right attitudes and the right tools… you can do it!

A year or two ago, I watched an interview with Simon from American Idol and he said boldly that it is all about the audience…and he essentially said…they make us…we don’t make them.

And with service and energy…that’s your American Idol and with each guest that walks through your doors…they are your audience and trust me…they do have their remote controls in hand.

Let’s keep them tuned in and stop wasting our advertising dollars. In doing this, you may just live to see a brighter day.

For the sake of returning to science class and understanding how energy works…here are a few explanations.

For the purpose of explaining energy to beginners, I think the best description is the following nearly-well-known Dave Watson definition:Energy is a property or characteristic (or trait or aspect?) of matter that makes things happen, or, in the case of stored or potential energy, has the “potential” to make things happen. By “happen”, we mean to make things move or change condition. Examples of changes in condition are changes in shape, volume, and chemical composition (results of a chemical reaction). There are also changes in pressure, temperature, and density which we call a “change of state” in thermodynamics. Phase changes, such as changing from solid to liquid, or liquid to vapor, or back the other way, are also good examples of condition changes. Something happened!

Without energy, nothing would ever change, nothing would ever happen. You might say energy is the ultimate agent of change, the mother of all change agents.

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