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How to Make Your Business More Inviting

One of the best ways to get more business and retain more customers is to make your business more inviting. A warm, inviting business will encourage more foot traffic, make a better impression on first-time customers, and help distinguish you from your competitors. The question is, what steps can you take to make your business more welcoming?

Physical Design

You can start by improving the physical layout and features of your business.

For example:

  • Make the entrance visible and accessible. Many people will encounter your business for the first time, or establish their first impressions of your physical business when they see your front entrance. It's important to make this entrance obvious, visible, and accessible. For retail businesses and restaurants, this often means enabling the greatest possible flow of foot traffic and decorating the exterior with clear signage. For office buildings, this means clearly labeling the entrance, and if there is a lobby, providing clear instructions or directions for people trying to find your suite.
  • Improve the convenience of arriving. While you're at it, try to improve the convenience of finding your business in the first place. If people feel like they have to follow a convoluted treasure map, or inconvenience themselves to reach your business, they'll go to one of your competitors instead. Much of this depends on your positioning; for many businesses, improving the parking situation is ideal. For others, optimizing your layout or amenities for public transportation or biking is better.
  • Install a fireplace. You can instantly make the interior of your business cozier and more inviting by installing features that provide both functional comfort and ambiance. One of your best options is installing a fireplace mantel. In the winter, your guests will appreciate the extra warmth, and even in the summer, your business will seem more homelike and comfortable.
  • Invest in comfortable furniture. While you're at it, don't be afraid to drop some extra money on furniture that provides near-perfect comfort. If you're meeting with clients for an hour or longer, or if you expect your guests to remain seated for part of their stay, providing chairs and/or couches that make them feel at home can make a huge difference. Plus, some of your furniture may be viewable from the outside, giving it a chance to make a bold first impression on passersby.
  • Perfect the lighting. Upgrading to LED lights can save you money on electricity and improve your environmental impact, but beyond that, you can use lighting to greatly improve how inviting your business environment is. Choose the right placement, the right colors, and the right intensity to make your guests feel welcome; the exact qualities will depend on your industry and target demographics.
  • Choose the right genre and volume of music. In combination with lighting, playing the right music can establish the perfect inviting mood for your guests. For some businesses, this is a light, smooth jazz. For others, it's moderate-volume classic rock. Think carefully about the qualities of your brand, the demographics to whom you're trying to appeal, and what you're hoping to get from the music (e.g., should people be relaxing or working harder?).
  • Polish and maintain the restrooms. Few things affect the perceived comfort of your business environment more than the quality and cleanliness of your restrooms. Make sure features like toilets, mirrors, and sinks are upgraded to high-quality versions, and keep your restrooms well maintained.

The Human Element

Next, you'll need to think about the human element of your business—which in many scenarios is even more important. Your workers, even those who aren't interacting with clients directly, should all practice good hygiene, wear proper attire, and present themselves amiably (and in line with your brand standards). Make sure to provide all your employees with enough training to make them feel confident in their public-facing demeanor.

You can also benefit from installing personnel at key areas of your business; for example, putting an exceptionally sociable person at reception can make sure all your guests are welcomed the right way.

Brand Reputation

Long-term, you can improve how welcoming your business appears by polishing your brand reputation through your marketing, advertising, and PR strategies. Try to cultivate good online reviews, and respond to negative reviews with patience and understanding. Regularly engage with your current and prospective future customers on social media, and respond to every online inquiry or message publicly (when appropriate).

There are dozens of ways you can make your business more inviting to new and existing customers alike, regardless of how long you've been established or what your budget is. Come up with a plan to improve the ambiance and image of your business, and it will return its value to you many times over.

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