I recently walked into a retail business and noticed there were no customers in the store. I approached the owner of the store and an employee and greeted them. The response I got was somewhat expected…”We’re slow…we’re bored.” I immediately started asking a bevy of questions that my natural curiosity instinctually came up with. I wanted to know why they were so bored. I couldn’t imagine how this particular business owner or any business person, employee, salesperson could EVER be bored. There is so much to do! Let’s get going!

After normal business duties are completed…things like sweeping the store, inventory, straightening out racks, etc…if all you are doing is sitting there waiting for customers to show up you need to start doing some of these suggestions:

1. Identify and communicate with your core customer. These are the people that have come into your store in the past and people you know that may come into the store in the future. Did you approach each and every one and ask if you could market to them in the future? You could send these people your new inventory, sales, extra discounts, etc…ask for their address, e-mail address and even their cell phone number. Once you have this information you can contact these individuals who have agreed to receive this information. Send a postcard, e-mail or text as part of your overall marketing plan. Be careful not to do this too much as you may annoy or irritate these people and lose them just as easily as you got them.

2. Start social networking for your store. Sites like Facebook and Myspace have millions of users and if used properly can help to get your store noticed. Remember that these sites are “social” sites. People don’t like being sold to so be sure that your posts and events give the user a reason to be interested. There are many companies that can help get this effort off the ground and even manage them for you. Commit to spending some time on a daily basis interacting with the network and you will see some positive results with your investment only being your time and maybe the couple of bucks your marketing partner requires.

3. Meet your neighbors. Spend some of your “bored” time visiting businesses near yours. Take a walk up and down the street and do some face to face networking. Let these business owners and employees know what you do and remember it’s not all about you. Take the time to learn about what they do. Exchange fliers and brochures about each other’s businesses and help distribute them for one another. Refer people you know to their business and they are sure to do the same. Because most consumers rarely travel too far from their homes a customer of yours is probably a customer of theirs.

4. Join networking groups and attend the meetings. Whether it be your local Chamber of Commerce, a professionals group, an advocacy group, etc…these relationships will help your business grow. People want to do business with people they know. People want to be loyal to those that are committed to the same things they are into. It could make the difference between someone choosing between you or your competitor.

I could go on and on about this topic. You can contact me if you need some more ideas to keep you busy. These simple ideas can really make a difference with your business no matter what business you are in. They apply to all businesses. So let’s all agree to keep our people busy so we can all see positive results!