I’m sure every small business owner knows that running a small business means sacrifice – time, money, and sometimes your sanity. After all, small business owners are people too, with busy lives outside of their operation. When your time and budget are stretched to the limit, it can sometimes be difficult to keep your door open. If the demands of your business are pushing you towards considering shortening your hours, be sure to think about what this may mean for your business.
Here are a few things to consider:
Know your customer’s habits. Take some time to track your shop’s traffic patterns. If your clientele consists mainly of working folks with daytime jobs, being open only 9-5 may not be enough. But, if you’re seeing and influx of browsers (ant not buyers) in the evening, it may be ok to close up at 5.
Customers expect consistency and convenience. If your hours change from day to day, or season to season, it may be tough for your customers to keep up. Make set consistent hours and stick to them. Make sure they’re highly visible too. Display them in your window, on your web site, and announce them in your phone greeting. If your customers aren’t sure your shop is going to be open, there’s a chance they’ll pass you over in favor of the mall – where the hours are long and reliable even if the product they’re after might suffer.
You may need to hike up the quality. If you’re going to have limited hours or need to close during a high sales volume part of the day, it’s more important than ever to up the quality of your goods and service. If you don’t make it easy for your customers to get your products, there’s a chance they will choose to go somewhere else and not come back. You’ll need to be proactive and win their loyalty before you change up hours.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether shorter hours are right for your business. What are your small business hours?