A definitive answer to the eternal question: at what temperature should the thermostat be set? And more of your questions for August
We know of several vision businesses that have been very successful with display campaigns, but you have to be careful; it is not an easy medium to master. By their nature, billboards target a broad customer base – the general public. If your strength is more niche, there are more profitable forms of advertising. With the average consumer being bombarded with over 5,000 messages a day, you also need to be special/surprising/different to stand out, so be prepared to hire an advertising professional to help. . Finally, since most of your potential audience is sort of on wheels, you need to get right to the point very quickly. The rule of thumb is to include your business name, address, website, an image, and no more than eight words. For inspiration, check out the billboard collection at invisionmag.com/072201.
We are a small optician but I would like to do some sort of event. What can I do in a 400 square foot store that eight people can fill?
Party outside! Kate Peterson, president of coaching service Performance Concepts Inc., suggests that you team up with other local business owners to create a sort of “block party.” “A restaurant, a florist…even a pet store…any business that is part of your community and shares your core values of professional service and customer appreciation should be approached,” she says. The type of event you organize will depend on the types of partners you can attract. Every merchant can contribute something – from location to food to decor and entertainment.
It’s hot! What’s a good temperature for the store when it’s so oppressive outside?
It seems there should be an ideal temperature that is just right. Yet this Goldilocks zone is difficult to reach and, like so many things in life, it is due to relativity. A setting of 70 degrees Fahrenheit may seem perfect in the winter. But in the summer it can feel freezing for a customer coming from a 95 degree roast. Retail environmental experts recommend raising the temperature in the summer to around 74 or 76 and lowering it to between 68 and 70 in the winter. Such a target suggests that many vision companies may be aiming too low – a survey we conducted of the INVISION Brain Squad indicates that almost two out of three ECPs set their thermostats between 70 and 72.
After years away from the company, I took over my mother’s optics when she fell ill 18 months ago. Along with the store, I inherited two long-term hard workers. They resist every change I try to make and don’t seem interested in stretching. Still, I don’t know if I could run the store without them, and I don’t think I can replace them cheaply. No advice?
There are a bunch of problems here, but they all seem to stem from an unwillingness on your part to act. If you do not trust your knowledge in the field of optics, call on an outside consultant to put in place structures allowing the company to function properly without these recalcitrants. At the same time, the system should put in place incentives to motivate and improve the skills of workers. If they cannot be “rearranged”, you must separate.
I would like to renegotiate the lease of my unit in a less dynamic mall, but I don’t know how. What do you suggest?
If you are in a depressed retail market, you are in a strong position to trade. The key is to make your landlord aware of your pain – and the pain you could inflict on them if you left. Most landlords hate to offer long-term rent reductions, so you might want to make a rent reduction of 20% or more for 18 months your negotiating goal. Other areas to focus on are expenses, especially payments for common areas or utilities. Also list some contract releases that you would like, such as a personal warranty release or a roommate clause. Seek the help of a lawyer who specializes in the local commercial real estate market. They will know what deals landlords are offering to new tenants.