A Monday Series

“What have you been doing with your summer?” your competitor across town asks you oh, so innocently at the Chamber of Commerce brunch.

“Nothing much,” you say. “I took some time to—

Clear Out the Cobwebs

Smile for the Birdie

Have a New Logo Designed

Get My Kids Involved

and Read at the Beach all about how to knock my competition flat.

“How about you?”

If you’re burnt-out, antsy, and need to revitalize your attitude as much as your business, this is the series for you. Experience Design for beach-dreaming business owners comes to your summer Mondays.

Summer Is a Great Time to Walk the Grounds

Overheard at a local office:

Client: Have you stopped paying the bill for your landscaping service? It’s nothing… hardly anything. The lawn’s a jungle and there are weeds in every planter outside…”

Professional: [nervous laughter] Gosh I never noticed. Heh heh. That’s my job—what do you think I do on weekends? … I’d better call the building people, huh?”

Client: It’s pretty ugly. I’m surprised you’re here every day and you never see it.”

It’s when you’re there every day that you don’t see things. Our brains are designed to filter out sameness and only pick up on change—significant change. Growing weeds doesn’t count as significant, so we have to purposely train those powers of observation.

Noticing the outside of your building is an easier task in the summer, for your clients and for you. They’re not running to get in out of the weather, and they’re hoping for a bit of cheer in your landscape (especially if you have planters like the hapless fellow above).

You may run just the same, since it’s your business, but this week, get off the treadmill, get out in the warm weather, and walk those grounds to see what your customers are seeing.

Exterior inspection checklist for your small business

Look for:

Cigarette butts

Gum on sidewalks

Neglected landscaping

Burnt-out lighting

Peeling/ fading/ filthy paint on signage or building

Cracked sidewalks

Parking lot with cracks, stains, or potholes

Clogged gutters and drainspouts

This isn’t exhaustive, but these are some of the biggies that your customers will notice in a hurry. (I added the last one after I was deluged with water coming off a roof during a fairly light rain last week, and realized that the store’s gutters were overflowing with leaves and debris. My suit was stuck to me for an hour.)

What would you add to this list?

Be honest—do you notice exterior maintenance issues a lot more when you are a customer, than when you’re running in to your own business in the morning? What will walking a mile in your customer’s shoes out-of-doors show you?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson