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Do the puzzle pieces of your business fit?

Middletown RestaurantYou did your research, right?  The merchandise/menu was painstakingly selected, the interior of the space was painted, fixtures/furniture pieces were put in place and you are open for business.  Good work.  Now cross your fingers and hope you succeed.

I know of a white cloth Italian restaurant with a relatively high priced menu.  Elegantly set tables with fresh flowers in the front windows, beautiful décor and food to die for.  Now imagine that you are dining at one of those window view tables, perhaps to celebrate a special occasion.  As you dine, you cannot help but to check out the view out the window.  There is a sidewalk covered by a concrete overhang with passersby and people who have ducked out of the restaurant next door to have a smoke.  Look past that and you see a liquor store, again with people hanging out smoking.  The rest of your view is a rather large treeless parking lot.

Guess what?  The fancy Italian place is now closed.

The forgotten piece of the puzzle? 

The visual appeal of the space from EVERY angle.  To put it simply, someone needed to park it for a spell in one of those chairs at the window table and take a good look around.  To literally put themselves in the customers seat.  Location is important for more than just demographics and available parking.

The owners forgot to consider EVERY PERSPECTIVE of their customers’ experience.  A more casual, funky, pub style type restaurant might have done very well in this spot but it was not well suited for a high end, special occasion type of dining experience.  The advice I offer most frequently when consulting with any type of business is to be cohesive in all that you do, particularly the things that are visible to your customers and potential customers.

EVERY piece needs to be pulled together in a way that makes sense. 

Location, décor, price point, advertising, website, social media presence, employees, merchandising of your product etc. all need to fit and make sense.  Similar to the old school music systems with separate components (fess up, you remember those) the lowest quality component will determine the quality of your sound.

Don’t miss a piece of the puzzle and drag down everything else that you put effort into.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Imagine that one snapshot of the entrance to your business is the only thing a potential customer is going to see before deciding to come in or pass on by.  This potential customer has not been in before..  They will make a split second decision based purely on how it looks from the outside.
Most of us have seen or are aware of the HGTV shows and even real estate agents that emphasis the importance of curb appeal.

When was the last time you snapped a quick shot of your entry way, took a look from the sidewalk or from across the street?

Entwined a Unique Boutique
Entwined a Unique Boutique

Recently I sneaked out of town for a night to stay at a friend’s beach house.  On the way, she took us to a cute shop.  Not only did it look inviting with nice displays outdoors but once inside there was a perfect mix of unique, high quality clothing, like-new consignment clothing, fun affordable gift items and even exotic flowers by the stem.  Something For Everyone is key here.  After getting potential customers through the door, any retailer’s goal is to make a sale, or at least lay the ground work for a future sale, from every single person that comes in.  The customer walks away with something to remember your shop by and will likely talk to friends about their purchase.

Entwined in Charlestown, RI, is an adorable boutique and a fantastic example If a well thought out space and a careful selection of unique merchandise.  Just look at what an inviting scene she has created.  Seeing this would definitely be a U-turn moment for me if I had happened upon it on my own!