I walk through Darlington town centre most Wednesday mornings at 8.30 and notice some, not many, businesses are open for business. Observing these businesses later in the day I noticed that they are the busiest.
Traditional trading times the UK is 9-5 but this is not a rule or a law. You should be open and be ready for customers before 9 am or earlier. The windows should be clean, stock refreshed, lights on and the shop clean and tidy, staff ready to serve.
In a past chapter in my life, I ran a retail outlet and later a restaurant. The retail outlet was open early, if it was warm the doors would be open, a couple of potted plants outside and my signature – the pavement brushed and swilled with water. This activity actually attracts attention and gives a good impression of an ‘on the ball’ business, its actually free advertising and great for staff positive mentality. Activity attracts activity.
In an office environment, the same applies, get the staff in early, let them go early or give extra time off in lieu or build it into the employment contract. They should be ready to take calls and conduct meetings at 9 am (or before) rather than just get going after a coffee at 9.45 ish.
Back to my observed stars in Darlington, the businesses I noticed were Savers, Relish, Alfornos and Taylors. All successful expanding businesses.
If you are stumbling through the door at 9 am, hanging around outside, the keyholder is not there and the entrance is messy it won’t take much to instigate the above and the results will be great – all for free, just a little time and effort. The early bird gets the worm.