This post is part of our Business Scenario series. Read the entire series here on the Clover blog, and check back for more tips and tactics.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it a million times:
Location! Location! Location!
As a small business owner, you know that location can mean the difference between killer sales and a “Going Out of Business” sign hanging in your window.
But as with just about everything in life, no location is absolutely perfect. Even if your site seems to be the location of your dreams, at some point, problems are bound to creep up. Location woes don’t have to be a business killer, though. Successful business owners view them as opportunity—using them to attract new customers or to launch new products or services.
Here are the most common location woes you’re likely to encounter and proven methods for overcoming them.
THE PROBLEM: Your café doesn’t have enough parking.
THE OPPORTUNITY: Parking is a luxury in many downtowns and quaint shopping areas. While those areas attract significant numbers of diners and shoppers, some shoppers are discouraged when they can’t find an available spot for their wheels. If you feel like your business is dropping off because some customers won’t walk from a distant parking space, consider taking your goods to the customer. With only a small amount of investment, you could launch (or expand) a delivery service that reaches customers within a nearby radius. To drive business, develop a menu that features your bestsellers, as well as some delivery-only exclusives. Price items the same as you do for dine-in service and add a delivery surcharge that’s either a percentage of the total bill or a flat rate so as not to turn off customers.
In the same vein, you could introduce a catering business. Netting a few corporate clients and boosting your business around the holidays and special occasions is certain to make up for any lost revenue at your brick-and-mortar location.
THE PROBLEM: Your business is on the second floor of a building. Visitors at street level can’t see it.
THE OPPORTUNITY: A less-than-stellar location can be a chance to get your creative juices flowing. To pique the interest of passers-by, place eye-catching signage at street level and turn your hideaway location into an intriguing advantage. If you’re willing (or can afford) to make an investment, see if your town or landlord would allow you to mount a classic fluorescent sign. Its bright colors and retro style will label you as a neighborhood landmark. For a more budget-friendly option, use chalk arrows or decals on the sidewalk to encourage foot traffic to pop in. You could also put a moveable sign in a more heavily trafficked area of the complex directing people upstairs or around the back.
THE PROBLEM: Your eatery is located in an office park that’s bustling during the day… and dead quiet at night.
THE OPPORTUNITY: The lunch service at your quick serve restaurant is almost overwhelming at times. But once 5 p.m. hits and everyone heads home, your employees are the only ones left around. Since you know how to tickle the taste buds of the noontime crowd, why not offer to cook them dinner as well? Designate an area of your eatery for pre-packaged takeaway meals that can be easily reheated in the microwave or oven — no additional ingredients, chopping, or cooking required. Just warm and serve. After a long day in the office, exhausted workers will be grateful to grab one on their way home.
THE PROBLEM: Your location is louder than you’d like.
THE OPPORTUNITY: Rock concert it’s not, but no one is going to describe the location of your salon as spa-like either. If it’s located on a noisy street or next to a highway or other loud location, consider introducing an indoor noise solution. Noise machines can provide soothing background sounds like waves or trickling water or monotonous white noise that masks disruptive racket coming from the exterior. If your salon’s atmosphere is more upbeat, think about investing in a wireless stereo. Play music that reflects the mood you’re looking to create. Decorating with heavy curtains, installing carpet, and adding upholstered furniture can help dampen the loud din outside and create solitude inside.
THE PROBLEM: The town is reconstructing all the sidewalks and nearby roadways.
THE OPPORTUNITY: Construction cones, torn-up walkways and men jackhammering are a massive deterrent to potential customers. In many situations, they’d rather go without a something than walk through a construction zone. If you can’t get people to come to your brick-and-mortar store, Clover Online helps you build a digital store that’s available right at shoppers’ fingertips as they sit in the comfort of their own homes. Once the construction is complete, utilize Promos, a free app from the Clover App Market, and social media to entice repeat shoppers back to your physical location.
THE PROBLEM: Your store windows are small, limiting the size of display you can create.
THE OPPORTUNITY: Creating a whimsical, humorous, or thought-provoking window display is a great way to draw people through your doors. If your windows don’t provide the opportunity for consumers to window shop, reach out to other nearby business owners and see if you can work out a cross-promotion. Inquire about using a portion or one of their windows in exchange for promotion of their business on your social media channels or even the ability to sell a small selection of items in your retail location.
Undoubtedly, location woes can be frustrating business deterrents. But with some thoughtful, creative solutions, you can actually flip these nuisances on their heads and turn them into new business drivers.[image: Construction by naql on flickr]
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