Sunday retail management advice: helping small business retailers love their businesses

I hate going into work. These words from a friend reflected a long-held feeling, a feeling held with some shame.

Here was a retail business owner who hated going into his own business.  He had fallen out of love with what he had created. The bitterness he felt towards his business had soured to hatred.

Why do some retailers hate going to work? It is an interesting question which needs exploration before we look at strategies for countering this.

There is usually a trigger – supplier fatigue, tough economic conditions, personal challenges away from the business, a partner dispute, tiredness… there could be any combination of reasons.

If you have reached the point where you hate going into work each day it is important to take time away from the business for an honest assessment as to why you hate the business. Until you can answer the question – why do you hate going into work? – you cannot begin to work on resolution.

Once you know the reasons, think about a series of small and achievable steps you could take to turn the situation around. No matter how challenging the situation, there are always steps you could take. Focus on these, start work on them and in some instances that alone will be enough to move you through the fog of anger and ill-feeling toward the business.

If finding small steps to take does not work, get together with a trusted friend and tell them how you feel toward the business. Ask them to talk with you about the business. Reminisce about why you started or purchased the newsagency. Remember your dreams and hopes. Use the conversation to explore your emotion at the moment you decided to open or purchase the retail business.

The best advice to to get professional help from a psychologist or professionally qualified counsellor to explore your feelings for the business. Your doctor could help you access a government funded mental health plan.

Understanding your hatred for your retail business is the first step. This will usually, of itself, reveal the first steps you can take to turn the hatred around. Be open to that. Take small steps and see where they lead. The change in feeling toward the business may not be immediate so do not expect too much too soon.

If you do nothing, the hatred will be more and more reflected in the business and in your own person. Neither benefits from this.

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POS software helps family businesses nurture and share intellectual property

The Tower Systems Point of Sale software helps business owners encode and share information about how the business operates. recording intellectual property about the operation of a business and making it accessible to those working in the business makes it easier for family members to grow into the business and stay close to how the family has done business over the years.

Family businesses are different to non-family businesses. They are often run on a different basis and with different goals. Having software that enables to recording of business rules and processes makes it easier for these businesses to track and manage how things are done and thereby to continue family traditions if important to the business.

The Tower software offers a range of mechanisms through which business processes are recorded – guiding those coming into roles and needing to follow tradition.

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Cloud based roster software for small business moves to beta release

rostercloudTower Systems is thrilled that its new stand-alone cloud based roster software is performing well in first-round beta release. This entirely new product is a welcome addition to the cloud based solutions tower Systems has already delivered. It extends the reach of the company and shows off facilities and flexibility that is cutting edge.

The limited beta release will continue as we settle the the software into the retail businesses currently using it. This is our usual approach with new software – walking slowly through the launch phase to ensure we have useful and stable software prior to wide release.

Being cloud based and offered on subscription only, this new software provides to retailers flexibility of access as well as expense.

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Small retailer POS software users love transparency on software enhancement suggestions

software-ideasMany small business retailers using the POS software from Tower Systems actively engage in suggesting enhancements for the software and many of these suggestions make their way into the software.

Retailers regularly thank Tower for the opportunity to publicly make suggestions and for the transparency of voting by and feedback from others about the suggested enhancements. Indeed, the level of transparency Tower Systems has offered in this area for years now is rare. Some claim user engagement but it is hard to find another software company living the transparency claim like Tower.

The real test of the exclusive Software Ideas facility from tower Systems is the enhancements that make their way into the software. Hundreds of enhancements including new facilities, large and small, exist in the software today thanks to user engagement in making suggestions and voting on these suggestions. It is proving to be a valuable process for tower Systems and its retail business customers.

It is a measure of the company’s confidence that the facility is promoted on its website home page and that the list can be accessed by anyone including competitors.

Software Ideas is managed by a senior member of the software development management team within the company and the overall Tower leadership team makes final decisions about ideas it embraces. All ideas receive feedback from the company.

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Helping retailers understand their Christmas business performance

Tower Systems offers retailers using its POS software a business performance analysis service whereby we analyse business sales and other data and provide a fresh-eyes assessment on the performance of the business.

The service is free to Tower AdvantageTM customers and involves a thorough year on year comparison of business performance.

Christmas is an ideal time for such an assessment since it’s the busiest time of the year, the time a business should be at its best. The higher volume of trade through Christmas enables an even more meaningful assessment of business performance.

Many retailers have appreciated this free service and taken on opportunities to change their businesses as a result.

Tower Systems is proud to offer this and other non-traditional POS software support services to its customers.

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C-Store group chooses Tower

A convenience store group with 150 locations has just selected Tower Systems as an IT supplier for its retail outlets.

Tower Systems Point of Sale software will go into more convenience store locations and further strengthen our position in this marketplace as a result of this new deal.

The synergy between convenience store and our newsagency marketplace is considerable and each will benefit from our work with the other.

We are grateful for the opportunity to help another group strengthen the independent businesses which make up their network.

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A week of interviews

I was interviewed yesterday for a business magazine feature on our software. This was the third interview of the week, each involving different aspects of our business. Two were for trade journals and one for a business magazine. The business magazine interview was the most interesting since the journalist came to the interview with a view which was contradicted during the interview.

Interviews are an excellent opportunity to check in with what you really think – beyond the politically correct or corporately focused answers, it is good to be challenged and to have to dig deep inside to speak to a vision for the future of your business and the markets in which you operate. The business journalist and I had a good chat about politicians and how they manipulate interviews – this was a preamble to his interview of me. Damn, he didn’t let me get away with anything!

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Founders At Work

founders.JPGJessica Livingston has written an excellent book based around interviews with founders of famous technology companies. Founders At Work documents what happened in the very earliest days. It takes us back to the challenges of startup life in an accessible way. Every company story has learning – certainly I found that to be the case.

For those of us who have been in our IT businesses long enough the interviews are fascinating because we recall being around at the time and watching companies like Apple grow from nothing.

Some interviews are personally revealing and wonderfully motivating. Reading the decisions people made and why they made them will help any business owner and especially tech startup owners.

Founders At Work is not your traditional business book in that it is primarily stories from tech people – in their own words. No froth and bubble. No rev-up motivation.

I highly recommend this book.

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