We’ve all been there. You’re looking for a place of business; a retail store, restaurant, commercial office space, and maybe you heard about the business from a friend, or Googled it online. As you pull up to the company’s address you are suddenly caught off guard. You do a double-take and check the address listing again. Could that building or storefront really be where you were headed?
So, you think to yourself, “No thanks,” and promptly put your car into reverse; taking your business elsewhere. Did you even look at the wares? Or check the menu? Perhaps, you walked in to inform the store owner of the sorry state of the company’s exterior? Probably not.
So, what about your own business? Could simple things, that go unnoticed, be turning your prospective customers off before they even get one foot in the door? Here are a few common issues every brick-and-mortar business can, and should, check up on.
One of the easiest ways for local passerby’s to judge your business is by ugly and cluttered business signage. We’ve all seen them … really bad, ugly, poorly-built signs. It says more about your small business than you may think. That is why it is important to keep your sign professional, clean, and in good repair.
When customers view garish neon signs with missing letters, or temporary banners that look like they barely survived a hurricane, they immediately think, “maybe I should be driving someplace else.” In contrast, an effective business sign makes it clear what the business is selling without being a public nuisance. If it displays your company culture, all the better — as long as your culture isn’t sloppy laziness and poor communication (as illustrated by missing letters on your sign).
No Curb Appeal
There are two deadly sins of exterior landscaping when it comes to the aesthetics of your company’s location. The first is bad landscaping. Untrimmed vegetation can cause moisture related concerns, stain the siding of your building, give thieves a hiding place, promote insect infestation and more.
Trimming the trees and shrubs away from your place of business and cleaning up the landscape is essential, so they don’t block entrances or signs. Enlist a tree service company if you aren’t handy with a chainsaw. If you don’t want to fork out a ton of cash on landscaping, at minimum create setups that allow for minimal upkeep. Things like landscaping tarps and wood chips help keep down the weeds, etc.
Secondly, what’s worse than bad landscaping? No landscaping at all. Nobody wants to visit a business that is surrounded by a vacant lot or unkept parking area. Plant some trees. Your customers will appreciate it and it will improve your company’s green image. You can even create outdoor rest areas complete with benches and pagodas. These amenities are especially important for restaurants and cafes, whose customers love an outdoor patio area to mingle and enjoy a good meal.
Outdated Marketing Materials
Does any small business benefit from loud decals proclaiming ad campaigns from two years ago? No. A customer will see old “decorations” and think your business is untidy or worse, not a legitimate retailer. Window decals have a short lifespan. Take them down as soon as the ad campaign ends.
Keep in mind, your customer isn’t going to come tell you that you have problems with your business exterior. They just won’t walk through the door. Be smart and think about your business from their perspective. Would you walk in?
This article has been edited and condensed.
Anica Oaks is a Freelance Writer, writing on behalf of Arborcare Tree Service Ltd. in Edmonton. A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. Connect with @AnicaOaks on Twitter.
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