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Is Your Business Scaring Customers Away?

2 minutes Read

By Rieva Lesonsky

Halloween-HouseHalloween is coming and ghosts and goblins are in the air. But small children aren’t the only ones who may be feeling fear this season—is your business scaring prospective customers away? Take some time to give your business a Halloween checkup by reviewing these five potential frights.


Fright No. 1: Unfriendly exterior. Like a haunted house terrifying neighborhood children, the exterior of your business might be sending the wrong message to your prospective customers. If you own a brick-and-mortar business, examine it from the outside in. Ask these questions:

  • Is the parking lot clean and well lighted?
  • Is your signage clearly visible from a distance?
  • Are window displays appealing, clearly conveying what your business does or sells?
  • Can people tell where to enter?
  • Is the interior welcoming—clean and brightly lighted. Is it an appealing place to spend some time?

Fright No. 2: Cobweb-covered website. Examine your website, especially the homepage, with an impartial eye.

  • Does it look current and modern, or outdated and confusing?
  • Can visitors easily navigate the site?
  • Is there a prominent call to action?
  • Does your homepage include your business address, phone number, hours of operation and other basic information prospective customers will want to know?
  • Does your website load quickly (ideally, within three seconds)?
  • Does your website harmonize with your physical location (same color scheme, logo, and general “look and feel”)?

Fright No. 3: Decaying social media presence. Not every small business needs to be active on every social media channel, but every small business should be active on at least one or two. If you’re not harnessing the power of social media, you’re passing up one of the most effective—and least expensive—ways of raising awareness of your business.

However, simply launching a presence on social media isn’t enough. You’ve got to keep it alive by posting, sharing and interacting with your fans and followers on a consistent basis. If prospective customers visit your social media accounts and see that you haven’t posted since 2014, they may think your business is as dead as your Facebook page.

Fright No. 4: Customer service by zombies. Whether you sell to consumers or businesses, your prospective customers have more options than ever before for who to do business with. If your service isn’t outstanding, your competitors are going to eat your lunch. When customers visit or contact your business:

  • Are they greeted promptly and in a genuinely friendly fashion?
  • Do your employees remain attentive to customers’ needs, or are they more focused on personal business and chatting with their coworkers?
  • Are your delivery, payment and/or checkout processes speedy and efficient?
  • What happens if customers have complaints? How quickly are their problems addressed and resolved?

Fright No. 5: Technology from the tomb. Business technology is changing rapidly, and if you aren’t taking advantage of the myriad new tools that can help your business provide better service, your business may seem as ancient as Dracula. (I don’t know about you, but when a small business owner whips out a paper pad and pen to write up my order, I get kind of nervous.)

Make sure you and your employees have the hardware, software and other tech tools you need to keep up with your competitors. Depending on your industry, that might include accepting mobile payments on a tablet or smartphone, using inventory management software that integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) or loyalty programs, or using GPS and text messaging to track and communicate with delivery drivers.

By having the courage to face these possible frights and make the necessary changes, you can transform your business from a horror show into a moneymaker.


Small business influencer Rieva Lesonsky is a guest blogger for CAN Capital. She is a nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship and has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years.

Photo Credit: breakermaximus/iStock/Thinkstock