Not That I'm Bragging

Listening to business owners often starts grating on your nerves. It seems that their cups are always either half empty or overflowing;  business is either terrible or too good. They never seem to be happy.


I rub elbows with fellow business owners around town on a regular enough basis to experience this phenomenon first hand and I always tell the BF not to let me fall into that same rut.


When business is less-than-stellar, I try not to make myself sick worrying about it, and I try even harder not to let on to others that it's not going so well. But when business is going really well I don't want to be that person who whines about how busy she is either.


For one thing, it sounds ungrateful. It sends the message that you're never happy. And it makes people — i.e., your customers feel like they are burdening you by doing business with you. Then they feel like they are doing you a favor by taking off their nails.


Currently I find myself in a new — and worrisome, although enviable — position with my business: I am finally able to afford decent advertising. But now that I can afford it, I don't need it. Except that I have been here before and learned the hard way — you never don't need to advertise! I mean, come on, Microsoft runs ads!


But there comes a point where you find yourself nearly fully booked, so you won't benefit from investing in aggressive advertising that is designed to bring the world to your door. No Groupon ads, no big promotional prices, no sense in specials that will result in new clients calling for appointments only to hear, "I'm sorry, my next available opening is in three months."


That just ends up working against you. You get a whole new base of potential clients aware of you, only to leave them with a negative impression of you. Then you end up referring them to someone else. Which is great for the colleague who profits from your advertising dollars. Not so great for you.


But if you stop advertising altogether, there won't be enough new business coming in to fill spaces as they, inevitably, come up.


Sure. I could expand. Hire another nail tech. But I'm not sure I want to just yet, and there's still going to be a point where expansion isn't a viable option. Businesses that maintain realistic goals know when they've reached maximum capacity.


So I am spending my time considering my advertising options in a direction that we seldom hear about. I need to keep my name in front of the community to stay viable. When someone asks my clients where they get their nails done and they say, "The Art of Nailz, " I want that person to say, "I've heard of that place!" And have a positive perception of the salon.


Unfortunately, this means I feel like I am spending a lot of money on advertising that doesn't do anything since it's not the kind of advertising you usually get immediate feedback from.


Why don't we hear advertising advice that's designed for all levels of business? It seems like all we get is "how to build your clientele" advice — not "how to maintain your client base."


Looks like I'm gonna have to go hang out with some fellow business owners and complain about being busy.


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