Managing Multiple Retail Locations

There’s no question about it, starting a business is hard work. You will face more challenges than you could have ever anticipated, but the learning experience alone is absolutely worth it.

Choosing a location is one of those challenges, and it requires some serious consideration. Understanding your target audience is crucial to deciding on the right location and whether more than one location is necessary to be effective.

How do you maintain a location’s culture, team cohesiveness, work ethic, and morale when you’re not even there? Multiple locations add another layer of complexity to management, and communication is key to keeping everyone on the same page. There are several technology offerings can help you stay in close communication with all of your employees, such as:

  • Chat services, such as HipChat, allow for instant messaging between anyone in the company. Reach out with a specific question or just post something in a room to simulate a natural conversation between coworkers.
  • Video conferencing apps like Skype work very well for more important discussions and allow employees see each other – an added benefit of this type of communication.
  • Technology for company-wide meetings, like WebEx or GoToMeeting, help companies share information with many employees at the same time. You can also record the meeting so that absent employees can access the information afterwards.
  • Keeping updated documents of values, plans, goals, and more available online for anyone to access ensures that everyone is aware of what is expected of them. Apps like Google Drive and Box are great places to store these documents.

Shared information is crucial and employees will need devices such as iPads, iPhones, and Macs to access that information. You will probably need at least one device per employee, and as the number of devices starts to grow, a device management solution becomes extremely helpful to ensure devices can be managed and protected properly. However, small businesses need to be extra careful to find the right one to fit their needs; price and features vary a lot and can become issues if they aren’t consistent with the business’ needs.

For smaller businesses with multiple locations, Bushel is a great option to manage these devices. It is a simple, inexpensive tool that operates completely over the cloud, so any change you make can be applied to all devices. This means that a manager at one location can push out controls and settings to any number of devices located at any other location. This is perfect for those who can’t travel between locations and results in many benefits for retail:

  • Remotely pushing an app that you want some or all of your employees to start using is as easy as a few clicks. Distributing a Point-Of-Sale (POS) app like Square, a back-end management app like Quickbooks, or a communication app such as Skype is very easy. Plus, cloud apps like these run seamlessly with Bushel to solve problems better than ever before.
  • We all hope this doesn’t happen, but occasionally a device will be lost or stolen. While this is stressful in and of itself, losing the information on the device can be even more drastic. Before anything happens to it, you can use Bushel to send commands to either lock or remove all sensitive company information from the device.
  • There are time savings for employees who travel between locations as well. Bushel has the ability to set up unlimited Wi-Fi networks on devices. What does this mean? When devices move between locations, Wi-Fi for each location will already be set up and the device will immediately be connected, without the hassle of typing long passwords.

As more and more small businesses utilize technology, ensuring that technology is managed and protected has become increasingly important. With the use of devices and technology tools, all employees across multiple locations have real-time access to information, helping to keep all your business locations running smoothly and serving your customers as efficiently as possible.

Contributed by Charles Edge, Product Manager of Bushel. Bushel is a cloud-based device management solution for the Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod devices in your workplace. It’s designed to make the complex tasks – like tracking inventory and distributing apps – simple so anyone can use it to focus their attention on business. Three devices are free forever, and each additional device is just $2 per device per month, with no contracts or commitments.

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