Let`s face it: we live in a society in which some jobs are still discriminated and undervalued when they are compared with other jobs for which a degree and the ability to take big responsibilities are required. Working with the customers is one of those jobs, as some people believe that everyone is able to run a shop without particular efforts: just look for a job if you want to work for someone else, otherwise start yourself your adventure, raise the capital and open your shop. It seems all easy: no degrees, no knowledge, you have just to welcome customers and sell stuff (or cook dishes or make coffee drinks). Unfortunately this idea is still quite common, but the reality is that running a shop is all but easy: you may not need a degree in order to open your business, but surely you should have a specific mentality that it is not so common for everyone to have. A mentality that starts, first of all, with a true love for the job, as opening a shop because you truly want it is totally different than opening it just because you don`t have a degree and nobody is willing to hire you because you also have no experience. At the end, what are the things that a shop owner should do in order to really succeed and demonstrate to their customers that he really values them? Making low prices and selling high quality items? This answer is surely the one that people thinking running a shop is easy would give. There are still many things a shop owner should do in order to really make an impression on their customers.
Hey, shop owner: do you really care about Google Maps?
Try to imagine if this is a familiar situation: it`s summer and you don`t know if your favorite shop is open or if the owner is on a vacation. You try to call the shop and nobody answers. You think by yourself that maybe they don`t answer just because they are busy (maybe it`s not even the first time they don`t answer), then you look at their Google Maps profile and you see the shop is open. You decide to walk out of your home, take the bus, you arrive and then... surprise: the shop is closed. If you are lucky enough, there is at least a signal on the store shutter telling you how much time will the shop remain closed. If the shop owner belongs to the most advanced category of those who just value money and don`t care at all at customers, maybe you will not even find that signal and you will keep asking yourself how much the shop will stay closed. In this case, the answer is simple: go to another shop, maybe managed by somebody who values their customers enough not only to print a signal showing their closing time, but also to update hours on Google Maps by adding their closure time on that platform, so that people looking for that shop in that period will see in advance it is closed. If a shop owner doesn`t care about the time potential customers may lose to reach a shop they believe it is open, only to find it is closed when they arrive, maybe that shop owner is seriously someone that doesnt`t know what does it mean running a shop and valuing people that spend money and expect a decent service for what they spend. Your time is as important as your money: also time of your customers is important to them: for you it`s just a matter of spending 2 minutes in order to login to Google My Business and update your closing time, while for your customers it may be much more time to reach your shop just to find it is closed, especially if you are located in the city centre and they take a bus from the suburbs to reach you.
Going out of home without wallet... or not?
Nowadays imagining a life without bags or wallets is not so crazy: Google Pay and Apple Pay are just some popular services that allow you to bind your bank cards to your phone and pay in shops with contactless technology just in the same way you would do with your plastic card. If you are even one of those people enjoying doing everything on a smartwatch without the need of extracting the phone off the wallet every second, you are maybe used to a completely instantaneous and fast way of paying without even touching your phone. All of this was maybe considered science fiction 10 years ago, but now you can really go out of home without the wallet and potentially even without your phone, if you rely completely on a smartwatch working standalone with an e SIM. All of this may seem realistic and wonderful, even if the reality is totally different: technology is so innovative nowadays, but if your favorite shop refuses to accept digital payments and asks only for cash, how do you behave? You avoid entering that shop, otherwise you end up carrying cash inside your pockets: in this case, what`s the scope of using Apple Pay or Google Pay, if one should still keep cash with them? It may be just a cool and smart way to pay inside shops, but you are still tied to your old habitudes: carrying cash with you, paying attention to changes, hoping the shop that refuses your credit card has at least enough change if you don`t have small pieces inside your pocket. All of this, because some shops still refuse to accept credit and debit cards just because `bank commissions` are too high or maybe just because owners of these shops are too lazy to even search for good POS offers that don`t make you pay a fortune in terms of bank commissions. Yes, because there are still many cheap POS services that don`t charge excessive commissions and are also suitable for small payments. A shop owner who doesn`t accept credit and debit cards has no excuses: he is lazy enough to not care about customers who use the card for almost every payment, he tries to pay less taxes by not releasing a receipt or simply, he is literally unable to look up for a decent POS offer from a bank or another financial institution (if you run a shop and you are not even able to do a simple task like this, that only requires looking for offers and reading contracts before signing them, maybe you should think twice about your job).
Managing finances properly
In a society where many people tend to make debt even for non primary things, it is important to remark that an entrepreneur like the owner of a shop should manage finances properly. Making debt only when strictly necessary and unavoidable is surely the first rule: despite this, at least here in Italy, there is a quite common way of doing business by fully relying on bank credit lines (by using them at the maximum allowance, instead of relying on them only when necessary) and delaying payments to suppliers. This way of managing company finances is dangerous and can lead to default in case of less customers (like during a pandemic or, even more simply, when winter arrives and places like coffee shops tend to have less customers than in summer). Saving money, keeping a reserve for emergency and paying the suppliers when invoice is issued pays surely more in terms of safety rather than relying always on debt.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Alessio Ganci