You have a great product, so that’s done. Next comes finding the perfect location to set up shop and after almost a year you’re finished. Now, you’re finally open and business is flowing. All is well – but is it?
Sure, you had to get over a few hurdles and you corrected some mistakes but now business is steady. But for how long? Two years have passed and because business is so good you haven’t spent much time focusing on other parts of your business.
Furnishings are already becoming worn, landscaping is overgrown or spindly, and your employees are getting tired. Haven’t you noticed the drop off in customers too? Plus, the average revenue per sale (ARS) figures are lower than before. What changed?
It’s your focus – that’s what changed.
Your focus is only on the things that are important to you. Maybe it’s payroll, productivity, and profits. But what about the unspoken messages you’re sending to your customers?
Look at your signage. In the example with the photo above, your sign is crooked. Is that a big deal? Maybe, maybe not. For a franchise like McDonald’s’ it may not matter because of the huge market share and impact the brand has, but what about your business?
You don’t have the buying power or name recognition of a McDonald’s. You don’t spend roughly $2 Billion on advertising per year like them either (as per this WSJ article).
You need to have each customer touch point matter.
This photo of the McDonald’s sign (which is from my neighborhood store’s drive-thru lane) is not to point out any problems with the McDonald’s brand in general. But it does point out that for most businesses, your signage can send a negative message to your customers who are concerned about the “little things”.
Example: You invite a coworker or old college buddy to your home for dinner but didn’t bother to clear the broken tree twigs and windblown leaves from your pathway. What message are you sending to your guest?
As she enters your door she sees your dog’s toys and rawhide bone littering the floor. What message are you sending to your guest?
After sitting for a while, she asks to use your restroom where she notices dog hair on her pants and a restroom in need of attention. What message are you sending to your guest?
You get the point. Now here’s the big question for your guest…
If you show so little attention to the cleanliness of your home, how much confidence will your guest have that the food you’re serving is prepared properly and of the highest quality? I bet your guest will have some doubts. Do you agree?
It’s no different for a business that doesn’t focus on its signage, landscaping or condition of its décor. Is there little attention to detail for the other aspects of the business too?
Will it be difficult to make a return? Will the service be consistent? Can I expect the best price, or will I be overcharged because it seems they don’t have the funds to make needed repairs and maintenance? These are all very reasonable questions to ask and a measure to see if you will keep your next customer forever.
We must ensure our messages are in alignment with the product and service we offer. Don’t assume that this problem or that issue is of so little importance to your customers that it can wait until YOU decide to fix it.
Every issue is important to your customer. But, we’ll never know what’s important to THAT specific customer who just walked in your door. We must be diligent and spend as much time looking outside our place of business as we do inside.
Now, I ask you…would you ever let a crooked sign ruin your business?