Great Business Ideas: Work the Phones or Walk the Floor

Great Ideas for your Small Business: Work the Phones or Walk the Floor

Elaine petrocelli, co-owner of book Passage in Corte Madera, California, was named bookseller of the year in 1997 by Publishers Weekly.
She’s done many things to deserve the honor, including battling nearby chain stores head-on and continually emphasizing customer service. Book Passage hosts hundreds of classes, author events, and workshops every year.

Petrocelli shared one great idea that anyone who owns a retail store or small business should try: Work on the floor. “The company execs are scheduled like everyone else to get out and sell books,” said Petrocelli. “Everyone here has been on the floor as a bookseller.” Covering the lunch hour while your employees take a break is a great way to stay in touch with the front line of your business.

Sit in for the receptionist and answer the phone. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Just roll up your sleeves and be the best employee you can be. “We had a marketing meeting, and so much of the information came from people saying, ‘when I was on the floor yesterday …’” said Petrocelli. You’ll be surprised how much valuable insight can be gained by working directly with your consumers. It might even provide you with the ideas and ammunition you’ve been searching for to put you ahead of your competition.

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