If Business is Bad, When Are You Going To Do Something About It?

I recently had the opportunity to meet with two couples; each couple owning their own distinct business in a town that has about a population of 10,000.  They were both a referral to me and because the four of them were lifelong friends they asked that we meet as a group and I agreed.  It is with their permission that I provide you the short version from that 3 ½ hour conversation because so many people are still in this identical situation.  Hopefully you will find this interesting reading, especially the final results.

CLIENTS:  George, business is bad.  We’ve even considered closing the doors and just walking away.  Seems like everything we try brings us to another crater in the road to success.  Our business lives are in serious peril.

GEORGE:  Think back with me to a time just prior to you opening your businesses.  Do you remember your original dreams when you first opened the doors?  Remember all the ideas, plans and goals that you had?  Do you recall the excitement, enthusiasm and drive that you generated to friends, family and potential customers?

Do you know what has changed?  Today you have much more experience at running a business.  You have employees today when originally you had none.  In general everything has improved with one exception…..you’ve lost your drive, your enthusiasm and excitement to welcome people into your businesses.  I think you all have stopped dreaming LARGE!

Before this meeting I visited both of your establishments.  I was hoping that your “business face” would be calling my name and offering a proverbial welcome in handshake.  I hoped that you and or your employees that I spoke with had excitement in the tummies and wanted to transfer that excitement to me so I’d make a purchase.   

But here is what I saw;

A.      Your outside signage is the typical antiquated word sign.  Absolutely no graphics, which means nothing to really catch my eye.  The International Sign Association says that 1 in 10 people read word signs as they drive by.  Where 85% notice and recognize graphic signs.

B.     Both of your store fronts have 8 ½ X 11 papers taped all over the front windows, trying to tell customers about specials or events.  As I drive by, how would you expect me to read that?  

C.    Potential customers judge your inside by what they see on the outside.  Stand across the street or drive by and pay serious attention to your business.  Is this a look that says, “Hey folks, come in”?  I firmly believe that 95% of the people who pass by might just wonder what goes on inside of your business because they can’t tell from the outside.

D.    Next I would ask you to look hard at your current housekeeping inside your businesses. Look at your displays, your clutter, and your flash, your DREAMS, your EXCITEMENT and your ENTHUSIASM.  Is all that coming through when a customer walks in?  Do you and your employees act welcome to see me?  Are you transferring all of this excitement to the potential customer?

The conversation ended something like this:

“All four of you have readily admitted the pain that you are in.  If business is bad, what are you going to do about it…. TODAY?  If you don’t do something, no one else will!  You need to face the reality that only a few people truly care if you make a success of your business or not.  They include your family, a few select friends…AND ME!  I care, I really do and I want to help you if you will allow me to.  You need to make a decision tonight because if not NOW then WHEN? And if not ME then WHO?”

RESULTS:  Both couples allowed me to help them starting with the front of their buildings.  We fixed the “first impression” rule and make a few subtle changes inside that made a monumental change in their business and we did it all for about $12 to $15 dollars a day.

One business realized a 16% improvement in the first 30 days.  The other enjoyed a 22% improvement in the same time frame.  And today, business is great and growing.  For my two new clients, life has again been filled with Excitement, Enthusiasm, and Dreaming Large!

I am always working to improve my customer base.  If I can be of any assistance to you or you might know of someone who could use our services, I would welcome and appreciate any and all referrals.  You need only call or write and I will respond immediately!


George F. Mancuso, President
Client Growth Consultants
Grinnell, Iowa