Small Business Expectations

I am a huge supporter of buying local. I enjoy farmer’s markets. I love local restaurants and shops. I feel at home in local coffee shops buying local honey. Recently a local business reached out and asked if I have any guidance for them, as they had seen a decline in sales over the past several months.As a supporter of all things local, quirks, such as pricing inconsistencies when an employee forgets a promotion or a longer wait time for food, rarely bother me. I will tell you, though, I’m in the minority. As a small business, consistency is key. So, here a few tips for setting expectations for yourself and your customers. Afterall, etiquette is about fulfilling expectations. 😉

  1. Be cautious in issuing change. If your new hours aren’t attracting new business, is it because you haven’t promoted the hours or given it enough time to catch on? Most customers don’t come to your place of business even weekly, so it may take a few months of consistently applying the change to see any difference. Also, the easiest way to lose a customer is to close down early or open up late. If a customer can’t depend on you, they’ll depend on someone else.
  2. Be consistent with food and money. The food, of course, only applies to restaurants, but money applies to all businesses. Customers expect a business to be up front with the cost of something. If you have a promotion for 10% off on Tuesdays, make sure your employees know to apply that. Similarly, the customer will have an expectation on portion size and quality. Meet those expectations.
  3. Remove “no problem” from your vocabulary. Every time a person walks into your place of business, you’re given an opportunity to either gain a customer or retain a customer. Positive responses go a long way, which is why Chick-fil-a is so known for their response of “my pleasure.” Read more about the problem with no problem here.
  4. Don’t overextend yourself. Do what you love and are passionate about. Slowly add to what you offer instead of doing it all at once. Etiquette by Emily started as a blog in 2015. In 2017 I added cotillion, and this year I’m now adding debutanate. I had to find what worked for my family and myself. This also has allowed me to not have to go back on anything I’ve started.

I hope you gained a little information from this post. If you have other suggestions you’d like to share, please comment here or email etiquettebyemily@gmail.com. As always, thank you for reading!

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