We have a big event coming to town (equestrian games) with an additional 200,000 people expected in the area. How can I best take advantage of this opportunity?

This gift horse trotting into town is possibly wearing golden hooves. “Visitors to equestrian events have the resources to spend — and studies show people are more likely to spend when they’re on vacation,” notes Andy Malis, co-founder of MGH, a full service ad agency in Owings Mills, MD. “I would contact the organizers of the event and find out every possible way to get in front of this audience. They may be offering sponsorship packages. Maybe you can exhibit and sell equestrian-related jewelry. Can you create a ‘Welcome Package’ to be given to each attendee? Include some local foods/beverages plus info and incentives to visit your store.” 


How do I deal with a new hire who doesn’t seem eager to get started? She has rescheduled her start date three times. 

Sounds like you’re her backup plan or she’s a worker with a serious lack of enthusiasm for honest labor. If you hire her, prepare for her to take her full entitlement of sick days and be reluctant to help out in emergencies. Send her a note thanking her for her interest but telling her that recent developments have forced you to reconsider the position and that you are rescinding your offer. 


Should I join my local state jewelry association? 

The state and regional level jewelry association scene has changed much in recent decades. Some remain active, some have consolidated and others have withered on the vine. Much of this change has been driven by the internet and the ease with which jewelers can now network and swap information via forums such as Polygon or dedicated Facebook pages. We’d advise you to at least explore your local regional or state group (you can find a list on the Resources page at instoremag.com). 


One of our sales team is pregnant. She said she wants to keep her job but will obviously need time off for the birth. What’s the best way to handle maternity leave, given we are not a big store?

If you’re in one of the 26 states that have not expanded on the meager federal protections for new and expecting mothers — 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but only for employees in companies of 50 or more employees — you’re in a great position to show you are far more generous than the small-minded Congress of 1993 that passed the developed world’s most miserly maternity leave laws. The easy response would be to hire a temporary employee, but there’s a better way to deal with the situation: Use the challenge to strengthen your culture. Send a clear message: You’re important, and we care about you. As the time draws near, talk to your team about how everyone can pitch in to cover for her while she’s away. Work out a reduced work week (possibly on full pay) as she eases her way back to full time. You can frame it as your gift to her and her newborn.  


This article originally appeared in the February 2017 edition of INSTORE.



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