Small retail business owners often tell me that they feel lonely when it comes to the management of their business, that they have no one to turn to for ideas on how to improve the business.

My experience is that some of the best ideas for improving a retail business are in the business itself – in your employees, those who work in the business every day. The challenge for you as the leader of the business is to unlock the ideas.

Invite ideas, suggestions, tips, feedback from everyone who works in your business. Make it easy for them to share and submit their ideas. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Setup a whiteboard in a public area at the back of the shop.
  2. Put an ‘ideas book’ at the counter for people to write in.
  3. Create a Google document and share it online – giving all employees access.

Have no rules. Invite all ideas for improving the business.

I like the ideas book best as it is easy, cheap and accessible.

However you approach inviting ideas from employees, be sure to genuinely engage with the process. Always provide feedback and show that you value their input and that it means a lot to you. Be open to being challenged. Trust the process.