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Get back to where you once belonged

For many retailers these are critical times. The economic downturn has affected everyone and we at Bullfrogs are no different.

After analysing our business in respect of the economic downturn we decided that we could not change our customers’ economic situation, but what we could do is go back to basics, which essentially means back to sales.

To do this we decided to revisit the shop floor. Our aim was not only to increase sales, but to reconnect with our customers and find out if best practice was being carried out.
Bearing in mind that I had not worked on the shop floor for five years, I was nervous. Would I still be able to motivate my staff and could I connect with my customers? In fact, I found the experience invigorating.

From the moment we opened the doors my selling skills returned and I set myself the task of improving our takings. In fact, we smashed the entire weekend’s target, but what was as important was the effect it had on the staff and customers to see the boss pitching in.

We did not want to alienate the supervisors, so we let them take the lead. But what came through was the need to start the day positively. Our staff were encouraged to forget yesterday, however good or bad it may have been, because today is a new day.

The past few weeks have had a positive effect on our business. Sales figures have increased, our staff are more motivated, targets are being met and there is a feel-good factor at the shop. So If you want to understand your business, spend some time on the shop floor – you can’t buy the first-hand knowledge you gain.

Michael Ashison co-owns footwear and young fashion business Bullfrogs in London

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