I drove up to our local discount ink cartridge store on a Thursday afternoon to find a note informing me that the store was closed to make deliveries until the following Monday. Since I usually keep an extra ink cartridge most of the time, I could just come back later. However, because I needed several other items; I took the 15-minute drive to Staples.
I prefer to shop locally to support local merchants as much as possible. However, when a store closes for that long; it creates a problem. Customers may lose confidence. They get in the habit of going somewhere else. While my commitment to local businesses may encourage me to return, other customers may not.
The Lord said, “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning” (Luke 12:35, NIV) Translated into business practice, it means that we need to be ready to offer service at all times. If we encounter a circumstance that could interrupt regular open hours for more than a brief time, we need to create a plan that keeps our doors open for customers. Opening late, closing early, or leaving even for an hour may cause customers to move on.
Many times, lost customers won’t come back. This hurts current sales as well as future sales. Shutting down for long periods is unacceptable. Hire a part time person. Rearrange some schedules. Do whatever you have to do in the short run so that it will pay for itself in the future.
Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach
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