Jewelry Business Insight

Who should be on YOUR bus?

Who should be on YOUR bus?

Jewelers are like the Wild West. Free thinkers, creative with a devil may care attitude at times. We love the independence of calling our own shots, good or bad Some will become large enterprises, like taking a 10 room hotel and turning it into a chain with exquisite rooms, a bar and restaurant while others are just as happy to have their corner cafe.

But almost every café, hotel, ranch or jewelry store needs employees to help us to take us over the top. Most jewelers seem to hire anyone who doesn't "tick them off". Especially smaller stores. There is an excellent book that's been out for a few years that will help you with looking for great people and how to create a great store:

Good to great by Jim Collins

It’s a great read for any business owner, no matter if you're doing only $100,000 a year or 10 million. (The 10 million a year stores all have a copy of this book by the way).  The premise of the book is simple. Your company or store is a bus and the employees are the riders in your bus. Their seats are their departments where they work in the store.

In the front of the bus are seats for people who sell and service customers. The middle seats are office staff, bookkeepers, store managers. Further back are seats on the bus for the jewelers, waxer, polisher and shop foreman.

Whether the seats on your bus are filled or not doesn't mean the seat itself isn't available, it is.

To continue with the premise of Good to Great; rather than looking to hire a sales person, manager, administrative person or jeweler you should be looking at WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO TAKE A LONG RIDE WITH ON YOUR BUS?

If you had to drive non stop from Miami to Seattle, who would you like to be on your bus? Who would make it an enjoyable trip, do their share of the chores and make it a better ride?

You should be more concerned if the person you hire (to ride on your bus) will be a great asset rather than worrying if they have sold jewelry or ran an office.

When looking for sales staff you should hire enthusiastic people rather than only looking at those with GG training. If a person makes customers smile, stay involved and feel comfortable, you'll have better sales than someone who knows the 4 c's and can recite them backwards.

You can train product knowledge but its hard to train enthusiasm.

So your first challenge is to hire the right people and then decide which seat they will fill the best on your bus. I remember we had a jeweler who was mediocre and had been doing jewelry bench work for about 5 years. We decided rather than fire this person to move this person from the shop to the sales floor. Best decision made for the store as well as the jeweler. Good passenger, we just had her in the wrong seat.

Your second challenge of course will be you. Just how good of a bus driver are you? If a "rider" on your bus should be making bigger sales, calling customers to come into the store or other chores do you just expect them to do it? They want to do it but just maybe you:

  • Won't allow them the freedom to try and to fail.
  • Give them the training and show them how to do the task.
  • Maybe you don't know how to train people.

So I'd suggest you get some "bus driver training" yourself. I'd suggest Harry Friedman's  Managers Boot camp:

Harry Friedman Managers Boot camp

Good to Great is a wonderful read. Its available in bookstores, probably by download but I have found a great site to buy used books:

You can find the Good to Great book used starting at $2.46!

Good to Great

So who's going to be on your bus?

David Geller - JewelerProfit | April 5th, 2012
About Polygon