While there are some things I don’t always agree with when it comes to the “rules” in business, I do agree that if you don’t have customers you can’t stay in business. The other thing I know about business is that almost every business owner (some 95%) that I talk with says “I need more customers!!” And I can talk with them for a few minutes and take a look at their business and almost always come up with a couple of suggestions on what they can do immediately to get more customers.
We’ve talked over the past several weeks about the months of November and December and how essential they are to some businesses for making it ‘in the black’ for the year. Most businesses would tell you that they would be happy to get some more customers, even if they do decent during the rest of the year. Many businesses also would say that they do some different things to take advantage of the people who have their wallets out in these 6 or so weeks. So imagine my surprise when I went to go to a store yesterday and was met by the employee closing the store and they told me it was closed. With less than a week before Christmas this store chose to close at normal business hours. They didn’t extend their hours to welcome the guests that are out after work shopping, they didn’t say ‘we’re sorry we’re closing, but you can visit us online for a great selection of products,’ they didn’t say ‘we’re sorry we’re closing, but we open at 9am tomorrow morning.’ No, all they said was that they were closed.
Last week we talked about how customers feel about your business, being treated that way made me feel less than important as a potential customer and could impact whether I go back and shop there in the future. I’m not here to badmouth a specific store or brand, I’m just questioning whether this company is really interested in having more sales and more customers (their shelves looked full to me), or not.
You can get all the advice in the world, you can even give it a little attempt with some token changes or additions, but if you really want to get more customers, it won’t happen without really taking action to make your business the best it can be. I’m not suggesting you do something outside of your range of specialty, like serve Greek food at an Italian restaurant or grow Christmas trees when you grow medicinal herbs. All I’m suggesting is to be a little more open to what your customer may need, like extended hours for holiday dinners or recipes to make using your herbs. Of course, if you want to move in a direction like serving Greek food at an Italian restaurant, or opening a sister restaurant a town over, that’s something you could consider as well.
So before you say “I need more customers” or the next time you catch yourself saying it, think about what you’re doing to support your customers and if you’re really serving them the best you could be. What have you done this holiday season to support your customers and potential customers?