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The cream floats to the top

Are tasks being assigned to your subordinates?


This saying, like many others, has a basis in truth. This one comes from dairy farmers. The explanation is that the milk produced by their cows was sold and provided enough money to pay for the basics of the farmer and his family.

The cream, which was produced along with the milk, did literally float to the top. It was in selling the cream that the farmer was able to purchase some of life’s luxuries.

In business, the expression is applicable as the difference in an ordinary store and a very profitable store comes in the details; the same details that when not addressed in an appropriate time frame, will float to the top in the form of problems. When properly addressed, the cream (profit) floats to the top.

Identifying the cream is the first step from two perspectives. You begin by acknowledging that you are the most important person with regard to the store. Everyone else in the store is there in a role that is supporting to you. While some of those people may be able to do things you cannot do, all of them are a support staff for you.

A closely related second step is recognizing there are many tasks to be performed in the store of which there is a small quantity of which only you can do. Unfortunately, too many people do not give these tasks their priority and find themselves performing many of these tasks with an approaching deadline or worse yet, taking the tasks home to do at night.

This occurs because this person is doing tasks that a subordinate should be doing. While the reasons for this happening are many, one of the most frequent is that the staff has not been educated on how to perform the tasks as well as not being held responsible for their actions. Another reason is shown when it is said that, “no one can do the job as well as I can do it”.

Some of the key areas that should be examined are the appropriate financial management, the merchandising of the store, (from both a purchasing perspective as well as the physical displaying of the merchandise), the advertising to your museum’s patrons and guests, understanding and utilizing the financials, observing the competition (other stores like yours as well as stores in malls, lifestyle centers, shopping centers, and downtown).

You have surely heard or been told that you cannot do all of the jobs by yourself, nor can you know how to do everything. Wise people will always seek others to advise and mentor them.

No matter how long you have been in the industry, you should always have a mentor, and as you gain experience within the industry you should be a mentor to someone else.

The best of advisors are likely to be just around the corner or down the street. Better yet, there is no cost to having them. Look around at other shops. Which stores impress you the most? It is likely because of the owner or manager.

Make a list of these people and invite them to join you for breakfast one day. You will find someone from a grocery store, pharmacy, gift shop, clothing store, toy store, hardware center, and several other types of retailing. A group of six to ten individuals works best. This group should be meeting monthly with the intent to exchange ideas as well as help each other solve challenges that each other has.

Truly, the cream will float to the top. The question is whether it is going to be profit or problems.

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.
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