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Chapter 1 of 4

Managing your workload and staying happy


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Retail guides > Retailer's guide to managing time and people > Managing your workload and staying happy

Managing your workload and staying happy

Most people get into business to improve their quality of life. So it’s important to give yourself the time and space to be restful and happy. But is that even possible?

Small business asks a lot

You’ve probably heard stories of small businesses that chewed through long hours, gatecrashed holidays, and put relationships under pressure. All that can happen. And it can all happen at once.

The trick is in making those times the exception rather than the rule.

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Where does the time go?

Your time will go to a thousand jobs. There’s stock to choose and order, staff to manage, bills to pay, customers to serve, books to keep, mail to open, marketing to do, and floors to sweep. The list goes on. Retailers are often surprised just how much time they spend on admin.

Time-killing tasks you didn’t know existed

  • Bank reconciliation – you can spend hours making sure all sales have a matching deposit in your bank account (i.e. that you actually got paid).

  • Managing inventory – you get so invested in maintaining stock levels that you barely notice which goods are actually making you money.

  • Processing bills – did the goods arrive? when’s payment due, again? do you have the money to pay?

  • Cash flow management – you have to know your business really well to anticipate when cash will come in, and when it will go out.

  • Refunds and returns – it sounds like no big deal but then you have to re-adjust your inventory, your P&L accounts, and probably your GST.

  • Managing employees – it’s a constant cycle of negotiating schedules, recording time, calculating pay, and making the right deductions. 

  • Filing GST – more deadlines and, most likely, another bill to pay.

Five ways to claw back time


two colleagues

 

1. Bring in a partner
Businesses with multiple owners tend to last longer. It’s always good to share the workload with someone else who has skin in the game.

 


 

2. Sweat the big stuff
Keep a list of priorities and refer to it often. Small distractions will pop up all the time. You need to recentre yourself on the things that matter.

two colleagues

two colleagues

 

3. Use software
Apps can automate an awful lot of menial tasks these days – from basic bookkeeping and inventory management to staff scheduling and paying bills. Learn about retail apps.


 

4. Hire people
Even just a few hours of part-time help can relieve a massive amount of pressure on a business owner (though you need to be able to delegate).

two colleagues

two colleagues

 

5. Use consultants
Professionals can work much faster than you in their fields of expertise. Consider getting help with things like ecommerce, social media, and accounting.


Systems can save you

Process is the key to getting things done efficiently. Create a list of all the week’s jobs, including the steps you need to take in each of them. Repeating the same methods will make you faster.

As time goes on, optimise those workflows. Take steps out. And focus on reducing duplication across the business, such as double-handling of information.

Where you can, work online. That way you can knock jobs off the list wherever you are. You don’t have to be at a desk to be productive. 

Lean on the community

Retail is a community. The shop next door knows your pain – and they may even have an antidote to some of it. Talk to them. Share your experiences and maybe learn a trick or two in return. Retailers consistently say they feel great solidarity with their peers, and even their direct competitors.

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Chapter 2: Hiring, managing, and paying staff

About 40% of Kiwi retailers have staff to help them out. And why wouldn’t you? There’s a lot to do between open and close. But hiring is a big deal. Here’s how to work through it.

Read chapter 2

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