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First Impressions Last

Each year, you spend money on marketing. For brick and mortar businesses, one of the goals is to get them into the business. We spend lots of time and effort on that. Creating the perfect messaging, making sure the staff is trained on how to ring up specials, placing things in the correct spot on the floor, changing signs, and a long list of other items. Many times, the staff can hit a home run with this.

But, we are sometimes missing out on the big picture. Yesterday, I visited a local restaurant that's a group of a small chain. Once inside, the manager and two other team members were working. They were interacting with the customers, working hard, and the manager was obviously driving

the ship on the inside. After observing the manager and his team, I don't believe their boss had set up them up for success.

Walking to the restaurant, I noticed trash everywhere. And, it had not just gotten there. You could tell by the faded nature of some of it, it had set up a home. They have outside seating that had not been organized in a while. The lights on the spotlight of the sign were broke and just laying on the ground. The rugs that lined the walkway were worn out and not laying flat (this is a whole other issue but for now we are on marketing). It was not inviting. It would be hard to give this business a 5 star review because my perception of the place was already low before I even got in the door.

Everything your grandmother, mom, dad, teachers, and college professors told you about first impressions is true. Owners and managers, get outside the four walls of your businesses. Not only do you need to pick up trash and make it look warm and inviting, you need to go the extra mile. Fix the lights that are broken. Put out fresh pine straw. Plant flowers. Invest in new seating if needed.

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