This Episode: 5 Ways To Fight Retail Burnout


Burn out is a very, very real problem for independent retailers. In this episode of Real Retail TV, you are going to learn five ways to banish it from your life forever.

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Burn out is a very, very real problem for lots and lots of independent retailers, maybe you. And in this episode of Real Retail TV, you are going to learn five ways to banish it from your life forever.

If you’re in retail, you’ve probably experienced burnout. It may not be long term, it may not be acute, but burnout is real, and the longer you stay in retail, the more prevalent it becomes. And so these are just techniques that you can use to retain the joy, to keep the enthusiasm, to keep those creative juices flowing. Five ways to banish burnout.

The first way is this acronym called B.A.M. B.A.M. stands for breathe, acknowledge, and move on. And I’d like to add another letter to that acronym, so it would be B.A.M.D. I really hoped that it would be B.A.M.B. because it would be easy to remember, because there’s a little cartoon character or a children’s story character called Bambi, but it’s not B.A.M.B. It’s B.A.M.D. So B.A.M.D. stands for breathe, acknowledge, the D stands for, make a decision. Figure out if anything needs to be done, do that thing, and move on.

Let me give you an example. So you may get a negative social media post and it drives you crazy. Breathe. Just take in a deep breath to relax a little bit. Acknowledge that that post really annoys you. D, make a decision about what you’re going to do. Don’t let that annoyance take space in your head. D, what are you going to do? How are you going to reply? Are you going to reply? Make a decision, and then act on that decision. Once you’ve acted on that decision, move on. B.A.M.D. Don’t let these little things get in your head and stay in your head. They will chip away at your enthusiasm for your business and encourage burnout.

The second way to banish burnout– and I learned this from my long ago mentor, Tom Williams– is just to remember, it’s just business. Once upon a time, I was going broke and my brother Steve, and Susan, and I went in to meet Tom Williams. A friend introduced us, and Tom was this enormously successful business owner. At the time we met him, he owned 18 different businesses. This is after he retired. And so we’re pouring our hearts out to him, we’re sharing all of our problems, and he just kept shrugging his shoulders and saying, it’s just business. And we kept going, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but. And he just kept shrugging his shoulders and saying, it’s just business.

And I’ve shared that simple phrase with so many people, and it has had such a positive impact on so many people. So whenever you get frustrated, whenever things seem to be closing in on you, when you are in the weeds so deep, you don’t know how you’re going to get out, shrug your shoulder and recognize it’s just business.

The third way to banish burnout is to take some time off. You are no good when you’re burned out. Owning a retail business is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to rest, you have to recuperate. So in the retailers time system, we talk about four different types of time, four ways to manage your time and tasks. And one of these types is free time. But what I’m sharing with you here is more specifically free days. And a day, as it’s defined in the retailers time system, is 24 hours, midnight to midnight, where you don’t check your Facebook posts, you don’t look at your email, you don’t let anybody from your store call you, you don’t check the checking account, you take a break from your business. You rest. You give your mind a break. All of the neuroscience is now saying that your mind needs to rest. Your mind needs to take a break from any particular subject in order to, sort of, reset, and that’s what I’m suggesting to you.

If you think the road to success comes from working harder and working longer, I’m here to tell you that you are incorrect. You have to work hard. And in the beginning, you have to work a long. But you also have to rest. You have to take time off. Here’s a quote from Steven E, and Steven E owns a toy store in California, and after hearing me talk about this several times in several different places, Steven sent me this email.

He said, I have not been this happy in a very, very long time. I now feel energized and eager to tackle issues that need resolving in the store. To anyone reading this, if you think the three day concept is not important, it is. Don’t wait to get depressed like I did. Enjoy a free, fun day this week. And I’m going to look at you and say every week. You must take a full day off every single week. As I stated earlier, you are not good if you’re burned out.

Something else that I’m going to look at you all and recommend in the strongest terms possible, is to take a vacation. I can’t tell you how many retailers I’ve talked to said, I haven’t taken a vacation in 10 years, 12 years, five years. You need to take a vacation. You need to get away from your store.

Another client, Linda, took her family to Ireland for six weeks, last summer. Six weeks. She was feeling burned out. Her husband, who is her partner, was feeling burned out. They were feeling burned out. Here’s what she said to me at the end. She said, there is nothing like taking six weeks off to make me fall in love with my business again.

Now, so taking time off is important, but I know what some of you are thinking right now. Some of you are thinking, that’s great, Bob, but I can’t take time off. My business would fall apart if I took one day off or two days off, which leads to the fourth way. And that is to build the structure of your business correctly so that you’re not constantly fighting fires. I can’t tell you– again– these pieces of advice are built upon thousands of conversations, and I can’t tell you how many people I talked to are burned out because they’re constantly fighting fires. They’re engaging what I call spray and pray. They spray to put out a fire and pray that it doesn’t it come back. And until you do the big-picture work, all those little annoyances that start to– again– chip at your creativity, chip at your enthusiasm, chip at your ability to be a great business owner, until you do these things they’re not going to go away.

Those big picture things like creating an organizational chart, we call it the retailer accountability blueprint for your business. So that you know how the pieces of your business fit together. Building a training program, so that your people know what to do and how to do it. Building a marketing plan, building it out for a whole year, so you’re not constantly reacting. So you’re not constantly thinking, what am I going to do next?

Hire services to do important work that you aren’t good at, that you don’t like to do. Whether it’s hiring a professional planner to manage your inventory, or having a bookkeeper perform your day-to-day financial work, or maybe hiring a professional visual display person to come in to make your store shine. This idea of bringing in services to help you with important functions that aren’t in your wheelhouse leads to the final way to banish burnout. And that is do more of the work you love and do less of the work you don’t love.

Burned out people tend to fall into the trap of doing everything themselves. Why do they do everything themselves? Because they’re good at it, and it’s easier to do something yourself than it is to teach someone else to do it. So you need to stop and recognize that you need to give work away. There’s all this work that you are good at doing, but you don’t like doing it.

My colleague and mentor Dan Sullivan calls this excellent work. You’re excellent at it, but it doesn’t fill you up. Another colleague and mentor, Brendon Burchard, calls it sucky work. It’s work that you don’t like to do, but you do, and we all have to do sucky work sometimes.

So the secret here is to let go of the work that you don’t love, to let go of the sucky work or the excellent work. Delegate it, delete it, give it to someone else, make it go away and spend more time working in your retail superpower. You know what I mean when I say your retail superpower. I’m talking about that work that gives you excitement, that work that puts you in the zone, that work that you love.

This last tip, getting rid of the work that you don’t love and doing more of the work you love, is the ultimate way to banish burnout. Because if you’re doing what you love, you will never, ever be tired.

So here’s your action item. I’m going to assume that you’re feeling a little bit of burnout or you have recently, because you’ve watched this entire video. So your action item is to pick a day on the calendar, pick it first, and then after you’ve scheduled that day, that free day, sit down and write out what would make a super, happy, fun day for you. Then take that thing and do that thing on the day that you put in your calendar.

If you liked what you heard in this episode of Real Retail TV, I would encourage you to go to whizbangtraining.com and sign up for our free weekly tip of the week. And if you really liked what you heard and you want to learn more about the retailers time system, you want to learn how to build the structure in your business so that you can focus on your retail superpower, I would encourage you to consider investing in the retail mastery system. You can learn about that at whizbangtraining.com also. But the retail mastery system has been a game changer for thousands of independent retailers just like you.


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