For the past 11 years, Beaches|Life has hosted a successful Kids Program Open House for families and businesses in the community. By meeting directly with local business owners, and talking to so many community members, we’ve learned a thing or two that would like to pass on to other business owners.
Whether you have been in business a long time or are just starting, or you have a large rather than small size business, we hope you’ll find these ideas and tips helpful.
Save your customers time
Most people these days don’t have a lot of time for browsing at various stores, checking out the products and comparing services. Anything you can do to help them find what they want quickly, compare choices easily, and make up their minds so they can get on to their next stop, is all worthwhile.
Tell them everything you do
Regular customers, even new customers, tend to think of you for one specific item, e.g. the best place to buy fresh bread. They won’t, however, know about other products and services you provide (perhaps catering, or fresh dough) unless you tell them or find a way to let them know. What additional services do you provide? What products do you have that may not be easy to find in your store?
Communicate and learn
The more customers get to talk with you and know you, the more likely they’ll return again and again to buy from you. We noticed that our event provided a venue for lots of talking between business owners, as well as to customers.
When you need a pair of athletic shoes for a specific reason (running, playing squash, hiking, etc.), it’s so much better when you can get reliable, objective advise from someone who knows. This kind of one stop shopping makes life easier and increases the likelihood that you’ll make the right buying decisions.
One of the greatest benefits any business can receive is feedback, positive AND negative. Ask, find out, and listen. In fact, there’s an old saying that when a business owner fails to get feedback, it’s a sign of a business in trouble!
Networking, in order to align with other business owners, forms alliances for joint promotions and services, which is a huge benefit for businesses as well as customers. It doesn’t happen when you’re too busy in your own store, but if you make the time to know your neighbours, the results can be invaluable!