An existing Pier 49 Pizza franchise restaurant in Bountiful was purchased several years ago by a close personal friend, Scott. He thought it was a great deal, with an established clientele, and located in a good spot. He figured he had made a very wise business decision and was expecting great success for years to come.
Unfortunately, after only one year, his sales declined and eventually he had to close the doors. His business, and all the hard work he had put into it, were gone.
Afterward, as we discussed his situation and poured over his business’ information, we found that there were two major things which he had overlooked: The previous marketing strategy and the building’s age. These overlooked details caused his business to suffer a perception death.
In business, perception is reality. Customers and clients make immediate and often inaccurate perceptions based on what they first experience. Inaccurate perceptions are very often detrimental to the long-term viability of your business, and they are quite difficult to change. When too many potential customers or clients share the same inaccurate perception, your business will likely suffer a perception death, resulting in business failure.
In Scott’s case, he did not think twice about the previous owner’s marketing strategy, nor did he inquire about the age of the building, and what, if any, cosmetic repairs might soon need to be done.
Soon after taking over, he realized that although he had a large customer base, most of them only came because of coupons. His new marketing strategy was geared away from coupons, and as he stopped offering coupons, his current customers stopped coming. Although he gained new customers with his new marketing, they did not come as quickly as he had expected.
Adding to his misery, the interior brick facades started to break off the walls, making the restaurant appear broken down and uninviting. It did not inspire confidence about the long-term viability of the restaurant, and due to that, Scott had few repeat customers.
Perception is reality. When new customers come into your business the first experience they have is the most important. Customers do not have the time to hear and understand background stories and excuses. The time they do have is spent seeing and understanding what is right before them.
It is imperative, especially for small and startup businesses, that the first experience for all of your customers is positive. Make sure that what the customers can see is inviting and attractive, and that your service is excellent. This is a time when what the customer doesn’t see helps you.
Have you had a time when customers made inaccurate perceptions about your business? How did you respond? Leave a comment below and share your story.
Subscribe at the top of the article to be the first to read all new articles, and to find out about new and exciting local businesses with my new section, Featured Local Business.