Sir Terry Leahy, the former head of global retailer Tesco, took his company in the early 1990’s and transformed it from the third largest in the U.K. to the third-largest retailer in the world. He writes on his experiences and tips in the Wall Street Journal.
“The principles of good management fall into two categories. The first type relates to the running of a business. The need to have good systems to implement plans; to change an entire organization, not just part of it; to keep things simple; to create a lean organization: these principles relate to the execution of a strategy and plans.”
Sir Leahy acknowledges that economic difficulties are especially daunting in the retail industry. They key, he argues, is to face them head on and realistically, and avoid the “natural instinct to hunker down and wait for the wind to abate.” Here is a synopsis of his key points.
Loyalty is essential. The value of a loyal customer reaps more rewards than trying to lure new ones in. The same goes for employees- not only will they make exceptional examples for training other employees, their experience makes them the best at retaining customers.
Embrace competition. If your business is floundering, look at what your competition is doing better. Walk around their stores, see how they conduct business, or handle the day-to-day tasks in stores. You may find insights you can implement in your own store to improve efficiency or costs.
Sir Leahy above all emphasizes embracing the reality of difficulties within the retail industry. There will be competition. There will be setbacks. The key is to assess them realistically and be proactive- continuously look for ways to improve your retail business.
For more information, you can read Sir Terry Leahy’s full article in the Wall Street Journal.
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