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Control. Your. Cash.

As a c-store owner, you’re probably well aware that employee theft is an ongoing problem. But it doesn’t have to be.

“People ignore it before they’re forced to admit it’s happening,” says Tom Terrono, a CBC Learning Center instructor. “But there are two things you can do every day to avoid theft…make these a part of your daily routine, and theft can decrease dramatically.”

First, you can take action when the flag is yellow, not red.
One owner’s big mistake was that he assumed his store manager was taking care of a lottery scratch-off issue. “But cash count was consistently not reconciling with the number of lottery tickets sold,” says Terrano, “and the problem continued to mount until it became a $30,000 theft issue.”

The owner immediately talked to the manager, opening the conversation with “I think we have a problem.” The store manager broke down and confessed to being the culprit right away.

The lesson here? Resolve small infractions so they don’t turn into a more significant financial loss.

Second, maintain a presence in your store.
“Don’t rely on someone else to tell you what’s going on in your own store,” advises Terrono. “See what’s going on for yourself once in a while.”

A lot of owners assume everything is fine because a relative or extended family member is running the store, but it’s important for owners to understand for themselves what’s happening at the store level, and what employees and store managers could be overlooking. Whether you spend time in your store once a week or once a month, you should be present—and hands-on.

Also, watch how customers shop the store—and watch employees. Just being in the building will provide insight on what’s happening daily at the store level. This practice—called the “Management By Wandering Around” strategy—is what Starbucks founder Howard Schultz used for years, and he credits much of his business success to it. He regularly visited 25 stores each week to learn what was happening at the store level and reinforce company values.

The lesson here? The best way to know what’s going on in your store is to regularly be in the store.

Learn more about preventing theft at your c-store—check out myCsquare’s Tip Videos!

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