The weather last weekend was perfect for a stroll in our nearby small town, a quaint mile-square with myriad shops.
Along the way, we noticed a number of small businesses that are literally tucked (read: hidden) out of the way. Some are completely obstructed. Yet, they were all open for business and working hard to serve customers and attract new ones.
One particular entrepreneur was an ice cream parlor. Newly-opened with all the latest fad flavors, this storefront was set back from the row of stores on the main street. The entrance was literally chiseled out of stone and, unless you looked closely, you really can’t see the storefront.
While the name of the store was prominently featured overhead, right below was a picnic table and beyond that wooden benches and then, finally, the entrance to the store, set surprisingly back.
Elsewhere in town, there were a number of smaller shops with a similar situation. All were part of a somewhat hidden facade: gift stores, boutiques, and even a barber shop located on an alley-like street that was truly out of the way.
So, how do small businesses with a small frontage, yet surrounded by plenty of foot traffic, make the most of their real estate?
- Consider placing an employee outside of your establishment.
The ice cream shop, on this very warm, almost-summer day, could have set an employee outdoors, offering samples to attract customers.
- Make sure the other stores in the neighborhood are aware that you’re there.
Be a good neighbor and stop in and ask how business is going. By building your network, you can benefit from word-of-mouth referrals.
- Use your display area to your advantage
Banners, colorful signage, balloons in inviting, and cheerful colors all help to bring attention to your business.
- Promote across different media platforms
Social media, as well as print publications, put your company in the forefront. Community involvement does also. Get the message out about where your small business can be found. Make sure the address is prominent.
Not every small business can be centrally located, but wise planning can place yours front and center.
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