Job Title: General Manager Of Small Business
Type of Company: My business is a children's bookstore. We also sell some toys and art supplies, as well as offering workshops for kids in art and writing.
Education: BA, English/Communications, Boston College •• MA, Developmental Psychology, Boston College
Previous Experience: I worked for a small publishing company, doing project management, book design, proofreading and copyediting. I then did freelance proofreading and copyediting. Now I manage a bookstore.
Job Tasks: My job as general manager of a small independent children's bookstore has many responsibilities. One of the main components of my job is buying merchandise for the store. We sell some toys and gifts, so that means I meet with several different sales representatives from different companies a couple of times a year to view and choose products for the coming months. With books, it means that I need to know what is currently being published and is popular and well-reviewed in the children's publishing world, and then order accordingly. A lot of my time is spent researching the latest reviews and publishing journals, and reading as many of the new titles as I can.
Besides ordering, I manage all of the day-to-day finances of the business. I manage the invoices coming in and the payments going out. I tally the sales for each day and do the bank deposits. I also process the payroll every two weeks for our employees.
Another big part of our business is special events. Since we're running a bookstore, we try to do book signings, author appearances, and other special events to keep a steady stream of customers in the store. Planning, promoting, and supervising these events is a major part of my job.
Besides these major tasks, there is the day-to-day customer service, organizing the store, cleaning, decorating, community interactions, and scheduling of employees.
It is a time-consuming job, but it's great if you love books, like a challenge, and want something different every day.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is meeting people. We have wonderful and loyal customers, some of whom have become very good friends over the years. It's also lots of fun to have events and meet authors and illustrators when they come to visit. That can be inspiring and fun and running a successful event gives a great deal of satisfaction.
The worst part of the job is dealing with the bookkeeping. This may not be the case with everyone, but running a small business can be challenging. Keeping up with the overhead of rent, utilities, advertising, insurance, and payroll can be difficult, while still trying to keep new merchandise coming in all the time.
Job Tips: If you are interested in owning your own bookstore, you should be a great lover of books, first of all. It may be good to have experience working in a bookstore first. You will need to be ready to work a lot of hours with moderate pay. But if you love books and people and want to be in a pleasant atmosphere with the opportunity to meet and talk with lots of interesting people, this could be a good job for you. Get help from others who have done this before and look for people's strengths to supplement the areas where you might be weak. Get employees whom you enjoy being with, and you will have lots of fun.
Additional Thoughts: The world needs more independent bookstores. It's a bit of a mission. And there are a lot of wonderful people out there to cheer you on!
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