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“Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.”
It was a short, silent prayer.
My transgression required, I thought, no more than this.
But sin I did. I knew that no one should ever be pleased by another’s misfortune.
Yet when I drove past a shopping center in East Cobb recently, and noticed a large banner draped across the front of a restaurant which read, “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS”, I was not a bit surprised, and even slightly amused to see the demise of this business.
This was my venial sin.
In 2011 I had met the owner of the then new restaurant. He had just signed a five-year lease.
I emphasized to him the importance of creating and implementing a monthly marketing program; East Cobb has earned a notorious reputation, I warned him, for being an inescapable graveyard for many new restaurants very similar to his.
He told me, of course, how tasty his food was. I was interested, to be sure.
He also was relying on the high traffic count each day. I agreed with his thinking.
Finally, he emphasized how prompt, energetic and courteous his servers will be.
Then I spotted the many empty tables. This was just a temporary situation, he assured me, until he had built a solid clientele from the usual “word of mouth” advertising.
He remained stubbornly uninterested, alas, in planning and implementing a regular marketing program.
I wished him good luck.
He needed, however, more than good luck.
He needed, in truth, more and better customers. Regrettably, this owner was ill-prepared mentally to build a larger customer base, to do the necessary, daily work.
Carwash operators can learn from this painful, maybe inevitable experience.
The lesson is simple: Assume at your own peril that customers will find, frequent and sustain your carwash business primarily because you have a great product, exceptional service, and an A-1, “can’t miss” location.
Consumers, we know, must be engaged, and they must be invited to use your wash. Moreover, they must be reminded regularly of the great value they will receive there.
“Marketing” too frequently is the most neglected activity in many failing businesses.
To avoid the sorry plight of this now-smarter entrepreneur, you must have one trained and dedicated person who will responsibly “take ownership” for building your wash counts and revenues.