There’s something about ‘the office’, isn’t there?
It’s that place where we get quiet time to get our thoughts together.
We can close the door and really get some serious work done.
The office is where all of our equipment and files – physical or electronic – are kept.
When we’re in the office, other team members stop by to discuss their issues – business and otherwise.
We can learn a lot and produce a lot when we’re in the office.
We can attend meetings and we can call for meetings to discuss any number of issues affecting the business.
But, in retail, the office isn’t where your business actually happens.
You can’t speak face to face with customers or sales staff and store management when you’re in the office.
You can’t see what each of your stores looks like and, more importantly feels like from the office.
You can’t see if the staff and customers are happy or if the store is laid out according to plan.
Pictures and videos are a poor substitute for the real thing.
From the office, you can’t see the overcrowding – the dust – the old inventory – the interaction between customers and staff – the posted signs that offend customers – the look on the face of the customer who has just asked for assistance and is met with a grumpy response – the strange twists and turns the customer has to make to navigate narrow aisles with giant carts…
Yet, the office has some sort of magnetism.
Just like the cash & wrap area seems to pull store staff to it, the office pulls Head Office staff to it.
That pull must be resisted if you really want to know what is going on.
You really need to get out of town and visit stores.
It’s not good enough to limit your visits to stores in close proximity to Head Office.
Not to take anything away from the Store Managers and District Managers who operate near the office but, let’s face it, they are different and a little more privileged than other stores.
They get more H.O. visits, more information, more coaching, more trials, more access, etc.
No, the stores you have to visit are the ones far afield.
You need to see how the ‘other half lives’, so to speak.
That is where you are going to see the real story.
That is where you will find out just how often the store is visited…and how thoroughly.
That is where you will hear from staff who are not accustomed to chatting with Head Office people regularly; staff who are not aware that anything they say and do may have more impact than expected.
When you are out in the field – actually watching your business happen – you will get the best insight into what you and your teams are doing right and wrong.
Don’t take your stores for granted. Never assume they are all operating the way you want them to…the way they have been trained to.
And, if you are a franchisor without direct authority, there is even more reason to get out of town!