Blue Eyed Sun

Blue Eyed Sun - gorgeous greetings cards

7 habits of highly effective retailers

7 Habits of Highly Effective Retailers

I'm a big fan of Stephen Covey's best selling 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. As a tribute to his inspirational work, here are my thoughts on the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Retailers:

1. Be Proactive

Highly effective retailers always take responsibility for their own lives. They recognise that how they respond to their business and the challenges it faces is their choice. The best retailers I have met over the years recognise that they are creators. As a result they are constantly working on their businesses. They avoid using reactive language like "I cant, I have to, if only" and focus on what they can control without reacting to what is beyond their control. The don't tend to blame others for their failures and they never let the weather dictate their feelings, because it's out of their circle of influence (as is the state of the economy).

2. Begin With the End in Mind

Understanding yourself and visualising your business working in line with your values and goals is key to fulfilling success. Great retailers know their mission. They have a clear idea of what their business is about and communicate it to their customers, staff and suppliers. This habit is even true on a day to day basis. For example, the best retailers always know what their goals are when they attend trade shows. They have a plan and their focus enables them to get the best out of their time.

3. Put First Things First

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. The best retailers recognise that it's okay to not do everything that comes along. They prioritise, plan and execute their tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Effective people recognise that they are in charge, visualise where they want to be by focussing on whats important to them and then put these plans into action by using the first two habits to dictate their third habit of making things happen in the right order of importance.

4. Think Win-Win

The most effective retailers I know recognise that the chain of supply from their suppliers to their customers must be win-win for everyone involved. They use this understanding to powerfully influence the relationships of all who they work with including their staff. This requires confidence and the ability to be sensitive and empathetic to those around them. Thinking about things from your customers, staff and suppliers' points of view is key to your success. As is having an abundant mentality where there is enough for everybody, rather than just focussing on your own success.

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Most of us filter what we hear through our own life experiences and, as such, don't necessarily truly listen to what others are telling us. We seek to be understood first and often miss out on the chance to influence the situation as a result. Effective retailers listen without using their own point of reference, but take careful consideration of what others are saying and ask questions to clarify their understanding. This creates trust and respect by those they communicate with, who in turn are more open to listening to their point of view and to working together.

6. Synergize

The best retailers recognise that two heads are better than one and that their team is essential to their success. They work towards creative co-operation with those involved in their business and often ask their staff, customers and suppliers for their advice on issues relating to their business. They value the differences in people and recognise that these are often key to finding solutions they are struggling o uncover on their own.

7. Sharpen the Saw

We have all been guilty at times of burning the candle at both ends and overworking ourselves. The effects of this can be damaging to ourselves, our loved ones and our businesses. Effective retailers take care of themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They frequently take time out of their businesses to recharge and spend time on themselves and their families. They recognise that we work to live rather than live to work. They also know that this means they get better results when they return to work rejuvenated after their breaks.

Stephen Covey followed his best selling book with a further title discussing the 8th Habit, which essentially is contributing or giving back. We do this by finding our own voice and encouraging others to find theirs too. Again we see this trait in some of our best retailers who return to speak to others and share the secrets of their success. This takes them beyond effectiveness to greatness.

Stephen Covey's books have sold millions of copies worldwide and his business, Franklin Covey, has helped many of the world's best companies improve the way the operate.

Eight ways to deal with Failure

Make Better Decisions using Six thinking Hats

How to Change Your Habits for Good