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Why to Encourage Appointments, Preventing Security Breaches, And More Tips for October

Also, how to recognize when to end a fun conversation with a client.

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PLANNINGChoose Efficiency or Creativity

This is likely a time of year when you need to tap your reservoirs of creativity for an end-of-season marketing campaign or just for planning for the new year. Keep in mind that creativity unavoidably involves changing gears, especially if you’re the typical hard-charging business owner or manager. “One can optimize for productivity or one can optimize for creativity, but it’s hard to do both,” notes widely followed tech entrepreneur Naval Ravikant on Twitter

MANAGEMENTInvest in People

A weakness for bright shiny tools is common among business owners. But, according to management scholar Tom Peters, investments in people often pay off better. “Capital enhancements are important. They’re also cool. You can get your picture taken next to a new robot. People investments are invisible and hard to measure. The tendency is to favor the hard stuff over the soft stuff. But the soft stuff is invariably more related to long-term strategic success than the hard stuff,” says the author of In Search of Excellence.

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SALESGo All Appointment

Request that all clients set up an appointment no matter what the reason for their visit, urges jewelry store consultant Megan Crabtree. “Even if they’re coming by for a ring cleaning, it’s an opportunity to give them this wow experience,” she says, adding that you may want to pull a few matching pieces for their collection to share with them while they are waiting.

SALESFloor Maintain “Conversational Discipline”

As many stores approach the busy season with less than a full roster of staff, it’s never been more important to ensure time is being used productively and that you exercise “conversational discipline,” says Scot Caniglia, manager at Josephs Jewelers in West Des Moines, IA. “We love those ‘bonding’ conversations, but we need to control them. Recognize when you are in a conversation that you are enjoying, but realize when you are exchanging story after story with your customer. Let the customer tell the last tale of the day and bid them adieu.”

SECURITY#Firstday Breaches

Young new hires are often a breath of fresh air to a business. They can also be a security threat, owing to their tendency to share. Stephanie Carruthers, the “chief people hacker” at IBM’s X-Force Red, estimates that 75 percent of security breaches are caused by interns or new hires as they post selfies or even video walkthroughs of their #firstday at work. Writing in Fast Company, she says the information can include unwitting shots of Post-Its with computer passwords, whiteboards revealing company plans, or posters promoting social or corporate events that allow hackers to craft credible phishing emails.

IDEASSave Good Concepts for Later

To be sure there are bad ideas, but there are also those whose time just hasn’t come. It’s this understanding that prompted author Oliver Burkeman to keep a running file of ideas from which virtually nothing gets deleted. “When I needed an idea, I’d peruse the list, and sure enough, most of the entries would still seem mediocre, stupid, or derivative. But for mysterious reasons, one or two entries – entries that might have sat there looking lifeless for months or years – would suddenly feel ripe, full of life, ready to be used.” Open a note in your phone today.

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Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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