Everyone knows not to judge a book by its cover, but few people behave that way. That’s not to say consumers are a judgemental bunch, but first impressions happen unconsciously and quickly. If you want to stay competitive, your business should be instantly appealing.
People form an impression in just 7 seconds, so you want to make a good one fast. You’ll retain customers by providing excellent goods or services, but you’ll attract new ones by appealing to their senses. With that in mind, here are 10 ways you can improve the appeal of your business.
1. Improve Your Signage
It’s challenging to overemphasize the importance of your business’s signage. Signs tell potential customers where you are, who you are and what you do. It’s often the first thing people see, so it should be an accurate and flattering representation of your business.
Your signage should be easy to see and read, but you should also think about what it says. Avoid any negative language such as, “no public restrooms” and instead focus on the positives. You may also consider using bright, eye-catching colors. Just don’t go overboard, and make sure it’s consistent with your business.
2. Pay Attention to Walkways
Any sidewalks and other walkways on your property should be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. While local municipalities are liable for sidewalk-related injuries in most states, you may be liable if someone trips on your walkways. Make sure you fix any cracks or bumps to avoid lawsuits and improve the look of your property.
You should also consider how accessible your walkways are. Consider installing wheelchair ramps and affixing handrails to any stairs. If your pathways are old, you may want to repave them, which makes them easier to walk on and more attractive.
3. Do Some Landscaping
While you’re working on your exterior, it doesn’t hurt to plant a few trees or shrubs. Plants are an excellent way to bring some life to your building, and they also help prevent flood damage. If you already have plants outside your building, make sure you tend to them often.
Well-maintained plantlife is attractive to customers. But if it’s overgrown, it has the opposite effect. You’ll have to trim any grass and shrubs often to keep them tidy, especially in the summer. If your grass starts to get patchy, you may need to reseed it to keep your exterior green.
4. Keep It Clean
If your building is dirty, it reflects poorly on your business. People might assume that, since you ignore cleanliness, you might neglect your customers too. On the other hand, if your building is clean, you seem more attentive and professional.
Wash your windows, take out the trash and mop your floors daily, if not multiple times a day. You should occasionally power-wash your exterior and retouch your paint, too. If you clean often, you’ll prevent any noticeable dirt or grime from appearing.
5. Light It Up
Lighting may seem insignificant, but it plays a substantial role in making customers comfortable. If your building is too dark, it can seem uninviting or unclean. You don’t want your lights to be harsh, either. Aim for a soft, comfortable glow that provides plenty of visibility without straining the eyes.
Use as much natural light as possible during the day. Installing plenty of large windows provides free, soft lighting and makes your building feel more open. At night, make sure you have enough lights both outside and inside to keep everything visible.
6. Redo Your Floors
Your floor is one of the largest surfaces in your building, so you should pay attention to it. If it’s dirty, unattractive or uneven, customers will notice. Whether you go with tile, hardwood or carpet, make sure you don’t neglect it.
If you have hardwood floors, you’ll need to refinish them periodically to retain their appeal. You can hire someone to do this or do it yourself for much less, so consider your options. If your floors are exceptionally old, they may be worn-down in some areas, which requires more extensive restoration.
7. Rearrange Your Interior
As a small business, you may have a similarly small building. While you can’t always expand, you can make the most of the space you have. You can rearrange your furniture to make your interior appear roomier and more inviting.
Make sure your furniture doesn’t close off any areas, which makes it feel more cramped. Arranging things into specific zones helps with organization, but remember to keep these zones open on at least one side. With the right design, you can make a tiny space feel like twice its size.
8. Choose Colors Carefully
Adding some color to your building can help liven it up and invite customers. That said, you should be careful about choosing an appropriate color palette. If your walls and furniture are too vibrant, it can feel aggressive. And too much white feels boring.
Your color scheme should match your business. If you want to appear calm, clean and comfortable, aim for soft, neutral tones. If you want your building to feel more lively, go for pastels and more variation.
9. Revisit Your Parking Lot
Parking lot maintenance often goes unnoticed by business owners, but it can make or break your property. If your parking lot is disorganized, cramped, dirty or difficult to navigate, it’ll put visitors in a disfavorable mood. The best parking experience is one that customers won’t notice.
Make sure that all of your pavement is as level as possible and clean. You might also have to repaint lines and post clear signage about designated spots. If you don’t have a dedicated parking lot, post signs about where customers can park.
10. Don’t Forget About Your Website
In today’s world, your brick-and-mortar site isn’t the only place you’ll make an impression. Your online presence is just as important, if not more crucial, for appealing to customers. Like your building, your website should be an easy-to-navigate, attractive and accurate representation of your business.
If you don’t have web design experience, you can use a website builder like Squarespace or Wix to help. While you’re redesigning your website, don’t forget to optimize for mobile devices. Mobile browsing accounts for more than 50% of all web traffic, so you can’t afford to ignore it.
Make a Winning First Impression
Remember that with every change you make, you should keep your overall aesthetic consistent. Everything should fit together and it should all make sense for your business. You want your building to be appealing, but you also don’t want to misrepresent yourself.
An appealing building and website alone won’t ensure success, but it will help. If your business isn’t attractive to consumers, you’ll have a hard time getting started. If you follow these steps, though, you can show customers how professional and reliable you are.