General Manager, Merchant, Entrepreneur
I became a storekeeper, and that surprised me probably the most. I heard about the opportunity, reached out, and all of a sudden I had -not one, but two- small convenience stores. Because of how I am, I dived into the world of franchising and retail with no fear.
I enjoyed the most when I succeed to coach my personnel to be true pros and to work with consumers, face-to-face. I also gained a good insight into consumer buying behavior in stores and the importance of many small things to steer it.
I employed about ten people, practically all of them less than half of my age. I learned the fundamentals and managed to improve the operations and even sales. I had a huge amount of positive feedback directly from customers and got awarded a couple of times by the franchiser. I also improved daily routines into a digital form. Before my time, a ton of paperwork had to be done daily, which meant a lot of reports and calculations executed by pen and paper. I created a cloud-based platform. With my system, the reporting consumed less than half of the time and erased practically all errors. The staff was happy.
I was working behind the counter too. I wanted to participate in every task there was. I considered, that example is much more fertile than plain ordering. The result was expected. Personnel did not complete necessary tasks because they had to, but because they wanted to. So I gave more responsibility to chosen individuals, the ones who were up to it. At the end of the day I had relatively committed personnel, and we had fun working together. We all smiled, not because you are supposed to smile (for customers), but because we enjoyed working!
Despite the successful work community, increased sales, and good feedback, the company showed poor financial performance. My franchising contract did not allow me to do the changes needed to improve profitability. The scenario also looked weak, so I was forced to shut down business in June 2016. Lost my money but gained valuable experience.
(Don't worry, it is not me nor my store in the picture!)