Karla de Leon is Main Street Launch’s Lead Business Advisor. This is part of Main Street’s business advising team’s ongoing series of best practices and tips for small business owners. Never miss a tip by signing up for our newsletter.
Oakland is booming. This means construction is everywhere. While it might not be pleasant to have construction crews in front of your business, the long term benefits of the upgrades to the city could mean positive growth for your business.
Many business owners are concerned about how construction may impact their businesses. They are concerned about sales decreasing and customers leaving, but construction is a fact of life in a city. Streets always need maintenance and new projects are springing up all the time. These are all good things; a thriving city means more customers for you.
Knowing how to prepare and deal with the challenges construction projects present will help you reap the benefits of the growth. Your goal is to keep your customers coming back during construction so your sales stay consistent. The key is organization and communication.
Here are three things business owners can do to prepare for upcoming construction near their location.
- Develop a way to stay in touch with your customers
Keeping in touch with your customers is key. When construction is happening, it’s hard to rely on foot traffic, because it’s harder to get around. You have to take matters into your own hands. Get in touch with your customers and remind them why they love to frequent your business. This can be inexpensive or free through social media and email marketing platforms. Whether it’s collecting email addresses or asking them to sign up for your newsletter, figure out a way to stay in touch with your customers so they don’t forget about you while construction is going on.
- Start thinking about new ways to get customers in the door
“Happy Hour” gets customers in bars and restaurants during traditionally slow times (Monday – Thursday 3-6pm). You can do the same for your business during construction times. Consider a “construction special” that gets people in the doors even though construction is happening. It doesn’t have to be huge discounts, but the extra promotion is a way of appreciating your customers and might give you a bump in visits.
- Let your customers know construction is coming
Create a flyer. Send out an email blast. Post it on social media. Construction is coming. You don’t want your customers to be shocked and angry when the trucks roll in. Suggest alternative routes or parking if construction is happening right in front of your business. If your customers are informed and prepared, they’re more likely to keep coming back despite the work that is being done.
It’s easy to be negative about construction near your business. But keep the positive future in mind. Whether it’s better streets, new open spaces, new transit systems, or just a functioning sewer system, construction can offer long-term benefits to your business. Maintaining a positive attitude about construction with your staff and customers will help them get excited about the coming changes, making them more likely to keep coming back.
You don’t have to figure this all out by yourself. Click here to make an appointment with the Alameda County SBDC (hosted by Main Street Launch) to strategize about customer acquisition and communication.