GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: How does your place look?

Growing your businessby Dan Beaulieu
Business consultant

The way your place of business looks is important. It is a visual indication of how your business is run. The way your business looks, in many ways let’s your customers know a great deal about you.

In my business, which is working with electronic companies all over the country, I’ve talked to officials who audit these companies to qualify them to be able to build high technology products for the military. These auditors tell me that one of their “secrets” is to not only check out the work areas but also the common areas like rest rooms and the cafeterias. They claim that the way these areas are kept is the true indicator of how the company runs.

Think about your place of business. Think about your store, is it well maintained? Is it clean? Are the shelves well-stocked? Are all the lightbulbs working?

How about your restaurant? Obviously, cleanliness is a requirement in a place where people come to eat, right? How does your restaurant fare? How does it look to your customers?

When we lived in Wisconsin years ago there was a restaurant that everyone went to for breakfast. The food was great, and inexpensive, and the place looked great. But then the owner sold it to another person and retired. It soon became obvious that the new owner did not have the passion for the business that the former owner had. We started noticing the differences immediately. The tables were seldom bussed so half of them had the remnants of half-eaten meals. The floor was not washed, and the place was just generally a mess. Actually, the food was just as good since they had kept the same kitchen crew, but the place was too messy for most of the regulars, and we started to leave. In fact, the last two times I went into the place I got syrup on my shirt sleeves since the table had not been wiped. That was it for me.

That restaurant closed after six months of new ownership. It closed after 35 years of being in business. And get this, when it closed the new owner, instead of realizing that he had not done a good job, blamed his failure on the fact that a new chain restaurant had opened up in town, taking away his customers. Interestingly enough the new restaurant was a Chilis and they didn’t even serve breakfast!

Take a look around your business. How does it look to you? Be careful now, because we all get so used to how our place of business looks that we tend to overlook that broken window, those burned out light bulbs, the cracked plaster, the torn booth leather, the weeds growing in the parking lot.

No, take a fresh look at your place of business, from your customers’ point of view. What impression does it make? What does it say about you and your business? Be honest now, because if your business does not look good it will reflect on everything for which your business stands. And that is no way to grow your business.


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