Common mistakes can kill your small business, but most of them can be easily corrected or avoided.
Today’s bad example: inconsistent business hours.
A local restaurant is open, I think, Saturday at 5 pm, Sunday at 11 am for lunch only, and Monday sometime. In fact, they are only newly re-opened from a previous failure. They had screwy hours then, too. Each week, they’d run an ad with the new business hours.
Another local retail store has posted hours, a bit inconsistent, but at least they are posted. The problem is that they don’t consistently follow their posting. They are frequently not open at a posted time.
How are customers supposed to adapt to this? In fact, they don’t. Customers just go elsewhere.
How do you correct the mistake of inconsistent hours? Here are some tips for setting your business hours:
- Think about when your target customers want you to be open. Ask them.
- Set an incredibly easy to understand schedule.
- Publicize your business hours in all the media you use.
- Be open when you say you will. Open on time, and don’t close early.
I know, emergencies will occur, but do your best!
Together, we are going to try to help each other out of these most common, deadly mistakes. You can use real world examples, real small businesses. Write it up, take a picture, or shoot a short video. Take care not to embarrass the offenders! Key point: include suggestions on how to do it right!
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Rick Cockrum says
This is a discussion my wife and I have had at our theatre. Movies have different run times. We settled on start times such that no matter how long the movie, we could always keep the same start time for every show except the late evening show. It could start later than 9:40, our normal start time, but never earlier. This simplified things for our customers immensely. On a related note – we always run the movie, even if only one person comes. I think we’ve built confidence in our customers by these two things. When we first bought the theatre, we would get occasional complaints regarding the previous owners over their tendency to unstable hours.
Becky McCray says
Rick, that is an excellent example of correcting business hours. You’ve made terrific choices, handling your special challenge in a smart way. Thanks for sharing your experience!