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Tips to Protect Your Business Against Retail Theft

TruShield Insurance tips for retail theft, for women entrepreneurs

Every year, Canadian retailers lose about $4 billion to theft. With holiday shopping gearing up, controlling for theft can be difficult. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the possibility of employees and/or customers stealing from your inventory:

Adequate staffing: More eyes on the floor can reduce the chance of a theft happening. Ensuring your sales area is serviced by an adequate number of employees will give you peace of mind.

Check receipts: Every transaction requires that you give the customer a receipt. Receipts are issued for all purchases and refunds, so this prevents shoplifters from returning to the store with a stolen item and demanding a refund or store credit.

Store design: Check your store’s layout to ensure there’s sufficient lighting, bell alarms that notify when customers enter and exit the store, and an elevated sales counter for better store visibility. If your store is large, consider hiring a greeter to stand at the door and monitor customers as they enter and exit the store.

Surveillance cameras: It’s hard to see everything that goes on when you’re busy attending to customers. Having clearly visible security cameras — or closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras — installed around the store helps you keep an eye on the store when you’re unable to cover every nook and cranny.

Outline store policies: Establish clear policies and procedures on how to deal with shoplifting incidents. This includes listing all emergency contact numbers and media protocols. Keep in mind that retailers do not have a legal right to search a bag, so customers can refuse to have their bag searched. Continue reading Tips to Protect Your Business Against Retail Theft

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Are You Out of Touch?

Are you at risk of becoming a dinosaur?  It can happen more quickly than you might think.  One minute you are at the top of your game, but then you blink and suddenly feel as if the world has moved on without you.  When you are an entrepreneur this is more than an annoyance; it can have serious implications on your business.  Here are some tips that will help you to stay ahead of the curve:

Spend time on social media.

Social media is everywhere and it is current up to the minute.  By investing half an hour online each day, you will keep yourself up to date on recent news, events and trends.

Keep current with technology.

Read blogs and industry publications to get a sense of the technology that is being used by your customers and your competition.  Take a look at your work processes and see if there are any areas where more advanced technology might benefit your business.  If you are not naturally a ‘techie’ person, find a friend or a networking contact that is and see if they have any suggestions for you.

Network

The best way to find out what people are talking about is to get out there and talk to people.  Ask them what’s going on in their business.  Those with strong networks are the first to find out about everything.

Join professional associations.

Become a member and actually attend events such as workshops, trade shows and conferences.  These are all opportunities to make connections and to find out what’s hot in your industry.

Read the newspaper.

This one is obvious, but when we’re busy running a business and packing lunches for school, it might not be your top priority.  Catch up on the news whenever you can; you never know what possibilities might be hiding in those pages.

When you are an entrepreneur, there are opportunities all around you.  The problem is that if you are not plugged in, you could miss out on all of them.  Keeping yourself current should be a priority that you work at on a daily basis.  Don’t let the world pass you by!

(Written by: Karen Bivand,  photo courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via freedigitalphotos.net)

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Do You Say Thank You to Your Network?

givebackThanksgiving is the time of year when we show appreciation for everything that we’ve been given.  Entrepreneurs are very focused on showing gratitude to their customers, but may not pay as much attention to the other people who support them.  Consider all the help that you have received from your network.  They are the ones who send you referrals, sing your praises, let you know about opportunities, and support you in the difficult days.  Let’s take this Thanksgiving to say thank you to all the amazing people in our networks.

Here are some ways that you can show your gratitude:

Say it.

People are so touched when we take the time to say thank you.  It doesn’t cost anything, so it makes you wonder why we don’t do it more.  You can do it in person, by email or even send a handwritten card.  The key is to clearly communicate how they helped and what it meant to you.

Give Them a Shout Out.

Most people appreciate public recognition, particularly other entrepreneurs.  It makes them look and feel good and it can even serve as free advertising for them.  Social media and your online newsletter are both great tools for showing your appreciation publicly.  Keep it short and sweet and emphasize how amazing they are.

Find Ways to Assist Them.

Networking is a two-way street.  If you find ways to help the people in your network, they will return the favour.  Keep your eyes open for any opportunities that you can send their way.

Take a Personal Interest.

The best networks are not limited to business transactions.  If you want to build strong relationships, you need to stop looking at people as contacts and make an effort to get to know them.  When you build friendships with the people in your network, you benefit both personally and professionally.  Ask your contacts about their family and their interests.  You may even want to invite them out for a coffee just to chat.  Most people will be flattered that you are trying to get to know them better.

Everyone loves to be appreciated, so taking some time to say thank you is good for both you and your business.  However, it’s not just about what you get from it,  it’s about the kind of person you want to be.  Don’t spend so much time complaining about the rain that you don’t even notice the person who’s holding an umbrella over your head.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)