This Episode: How To Keep Your Store Clean, Organized, And Under Control


Is your store a disaster? Does it look like a hurricane devastated your displays? In this episode of Real Retail TV, you’ll learn retail tips that show you exactly how to create order from chaos by using an opening and closing checklist taken from the Store Operations module of the Retail Mastery System.

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Hi, I’m Bob Negen, and in this episode of Real Retail TV, you’re going to learn a secret to keeping your store clean, organized, and under control.

For many, many, many years, my store was a disaster. My brother Steve and our employees and I, we did a great job of giving our customers a really cool, fun experience. We were great marketers. We were great salespeople.

But when it came to operations, we were a mess. Our stockroom was totally unorganized. It looked like a tornado had come through. And our counter, oh my gosh, just looking at it would make you go, uh. It wasn’t until I learned what you’re going to learn in just a moment that things almost miraculously changed.

Order came from chaos. Everything started to work better. And what I’m talking about is an incredibly simple tool. I’m talking about the opening and closing checklist. And in this video from the store operations module of the Retail Mastery System, you’ll learn exactly how to use an opening and closing checklist to get your store clean, organized, and under control. Enjoy.

I know you want to have a well-run store. The fact that you’re watching this video tells me you want to have a well-run store. And in my opinion and from my experience, the foundation of a well-run store is checklists, and in particular, it’s your opening and closing checklists. So if you have a vision for your business, what it looks like, how neat it is, how it runs, how clean it is, and then you’ve created standards that support your vision and you’ve trained your people to those standards, you now have the raw materials to create your checklists. So a checklist is really where you put those standards so that every single day by opening, your store comes back to 100% perfect.

Let me give you an example of some of the things that are on opening and closing checklists. And of course, you have a sample here that is downloadable and customizable right here in your Retail Mastery System. But in the closing checklists, there are things like restock the shelves, make sure that all the merchandise is faced correctly, dust. Any store, every store, every piece of merchandise should be touched.

At the Mackinaw Kite Company, in my store, it didn’t take long, but everybody went through the shelves and touched everything. Everybody faced everything. Everybody either filled in the pegs or brought everything out to the front of the pegs. So all the merchandise was touched. And it sounds like an incredibly big job, but when your people start to go fast, it doesn’t take very long at all. So in your closing checklist, things like counting down the bank. If you are in a women’s clothing business, what do you do at the end of the day with your dressing rooms?

So all of these things need to be thought about. So again, these opening and closing checklist that are in the Retail Mastery System are customizable. Look at them. See what works for you. See what doesn’t work for you. See what needs to be added.

If you have an opening checklist, that’s typically where the cleaning is done, where the windows are washed, where things like– let’s say you have a bike store. The rental bikes go outside.

Now here’s something else that I want to really share with you– and I think that’s very important– is put everything on it. I’ll give you an example of something that seems minor but that points to the importance of an opening checklist– turn on the music.

Turn on the music– it seems self-evident. You have a store, they open the doors, they turn on the music. Guess what? If you don’t have turn on the music on your opening checklist, I guarantee that you’re going to come into your store and there won’t be any music playing.

So again, the opening and closing checklist are your opportunity to get your store back to perfect– that snapshot of perfection before your store opens every day. It makes it easy. You see, if you don’t have the open and closing checklist, creep will set in. And a store dusted every day doesn’t get very dusty. A store dusted once a month or once a quarter or never gets very, very dusty.

So let’s talk about two things that are very important to make the open and closing checklist an important part of your story culture. And the first is commitment. And when I talk about commitment, I’m talking about your commitment. So in the beginning when you introduce the open and closing checklist, there is a tendency for creep to set in– that your team will do it one day and not do it the next day or will do some of it and not all of it or will do a little bit of it to standard and some of it not to standard.

Here’s where your commitment comes in. You have to say to yourself and make a commitment to yourself and a commitment to your store and a commitment to your success that you’re going to make sure that this becomes a habit, that it becomes part of a culture. So how do you do it?

Well, in the beginning, you check both the opening and the closing checklists thoroughly. So every day, you come in, you look at it, and you go through it. You actually walk around with the clipboard and you see that everything has been done. And you look and make sure that everything has been done to standard.

Why do you do that? Because when your team sees you doing it, they know that you are serious about it getting done. So in the beginning, you’re going to have to put a lot of attention to it because they need to see– they, being your team, need to see that you’re serious about it. But after a while, it will become habit to be done to standard every single time. And that’s where you’re trying to get, where everybody understands when they work for you, they do the checklist to standard no matter what because it’s part of the culture.

Now if you get somebody that’s new coming to work with you, it becomes important that you make sure that they understand your commitment to the open and closing checklist being done correctly. So let’s say John comes to work for me, and it’s his first day of closing the store. So what I would do is every day for several days, I would look and see what John has done on the closing or opening checklist.

And then I would go back to him and I would give him praise if it was a job well done. Maybe it’d be like, John, I saw that you were the person who cleaned the stock room last night. And I know it was trashed yesterday. It was a huge day. You did a great job. Thank you very much.

So I praised him for doing the job correctly. So now he knows I’m serious about the job being done correctly.

But let’s say John washed the windows as part of his opening responsibilities, but he didn’t do it to standards. He just put a rag to it for a couple seconds.

Well, then that gives me the opportunity to coach and improve a behavior. Then I would take John aside and say, John, come over here for a second. So I saw that you were the one who washed the windows. Let’s talk about the standards for a clean window. The standards are to the corners and the edges until there are no streaks and smudges, and you put the stuff away.

But let me show you what I mean by that. You didn’t get in the corners, you see? So you talk about what happened. And then you have an opportunity to coach. So then John knows– A, how to wash the windows to standard; and B, again, he sees your commitment to making sure the open and closing checklist is done to standard every single day.

So I talked about how I know that John did wash the windows or how I know that John cleaned up the stockroom. Well, how did I know that? I know that because of the silver bullet with checklists. And the silver bullet of checklists is initials.

When people do your opening and closing, when they use your checklist, they should never check. Even though it’s a checklist, they should never check that something has been done. They should initialize that they are the ones that did it. What happens is that gives them accountability for the job that is well done or is not done to standard.

You see, if John had merely checked off that he had clean the stock room or checked off that he had washed the windows, I as the owner or manager wouldn’t know who to go to talk to. But the fact that it’s been initialed allows me to find out who’s been doing it right, who’s been doing it incorrectly– heap praise or correct behaviors. So every single line on the opening and closing checklist must be initialized. And you have to have a commitment to making sure that whoever has done that task has done it to your standards.

Now that is the opening and closing checklist. But there’s also you can have weekly, monthly, and quarterly. Weekly could be things like clean out the whole bin. Weekly could be things like bring the recyclables to the recycle station– monthly. I don’t know. All of these things– you know, not everything needs to be done every day.

But what I want you to do is to think about the tasks that need to be done regularly. Maybe it’s daily. Maybe they need to be done weekly, monthly, or quarterly. But everything that needs to be done with some regularity in your store should be put into a checklist. And then that checklist should be treated exactly like the open and closing checklist.

The first Monday of every month– or Monday could be the weekly checklist. The first Monday of every month could be the monthly checklist. The first Monday of every quarter could be the quarterly checklist. But again, it comes down to your commitment for having a well-run store. And checklists are the way that you bring your tasks into play to make sure that your store is always up to your standards.

I hope that you enjoyed that video. Like I said, it was a game changer for me. Starting to use the open and closing checklist, making sure it was done every day a standard really, really made a huge difference in my business. So your action item, should you choose to accept it, is to create an open and closing checklist for your business– and not just create it.

Have you ever gone into a restaurant and you’ve seen the bathroom cleaning checklist that hasn’t been used in a couple of weeks? You need to use it every day. It’s your job to drive it down. It’s your job to ensure that is being done– it’s being done correctly with initials, not checks– that everything on the list is being done to standard.

It’s your job to ensure that the open and closing checklist becomes an important part of your culture. But when you do that, great things are going to happen. So if you have your Retail Mastery System, go into the Store Operations Kit. Get that, download that template, and make it yours.

If you don’t have the Retail Mastery System yet, I would encourage you to get it. The Retail Mastery System is the world’s best resource for independent retailers like you. It comes with a money-back guarantee. And it could be the game changer that you’re looking for.

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