By Jennifer E. Goldman, President
Have you ever approached a business from the outside and immediately felt a sense of sadness, stress or doom? Maybe it wasn’t until you reached the interior. You may not have known what it was, and most likely ignored it; continuing on with your meeting, appointment or shopping…but you didn’t feel great about it. These things happen and so many of us never really know why, we just know on some level it was dreadful.
Some people, however, are more sensitive to feelings like this will turn and leave promptly.
The owners of these buildings and businesses, are rarely (if ever) aware that this is happening. For some reason they have become desensitized or accustomed to their surroundings and unfortunately it’s affecting the level of success of their business. It’s one thing to have not-so-great curb appeal. It’s quite another to suffer, for lack of a better term, a case of bad juju!
A good example was a stop I made last week to a local business. I was coming unannounced, but during their normal hours of operation. There was a cute little garden and a welcome mat next to their door but as I approached I noticed a sign sticking out the garden that read “No Trespassing”. I found this odd not only because the plot was only about four foot by four foot in size, but also because this business is one focused on health and healing. As I passed the garden and headed for the door there was a sign on the door that read “Please Use the Other Entrance”.
At this point I was a little put off; I’m feeling like a trespasser and the entrance that, on first glance, seemed the most welcoming is off-limits.
I walked back out to the sidewalk and down to the other entrance. Feeling more confident, I strode up to the door and turned the knob. Nothing. Locked. Then I noticed the Post-it note. “Out to Lunch”. It was 2PM.
“Boy, are you ever,” I thought.
Truth is, I was there to conduct an impromptu interview and snap a few photos for a Mother’s Day gift guide I was putting together – it was free publicity for them. Or it would have been. Even though I realized I would probably never become a customer I decided to make all my other stops and cycle back to this business later.
An hour and a half later: same story. Door locked. Post-it note. Still “Out to Lunch”. I decided I wouldn’t use them ever and I would also not be including them in my article or referring people to them. As I walked back to my car, a couple approached the “wrong” door and then the other door and then left as well.
Bad juju and bad business practices can be so damaging to your business and you may never even know it.
What can you do to find out if your business has bad juju? Try taking a walk-through, from the front entrance, all the way through the building and look at it as if you’ve never seen the place before. If possible, bring your employees, or friends, or hire an outside consultant who will give you unbiased feedback and make positive professional suggestions. Ask them to be honest with you and be honest with yourself. What things look or feel negative?
The good news is, it’s really easy to turn your bad juju into good vibrations. Here are some easy tips:
- Take away any signs that have the word “no” in them
- Don’t use paper signs, but if you must, at least frame them
- Additional lighting can do tremendous things, sometimes it’s needed outside, too
- Pick up any litter around your walkways, entrance and parking lot
- Add plants and flowers and maintain them