By Lea Schneider
As a business person, I’m also a consumer. I turn to other businesses for their expertise. I expect attention to detail from my insurance agent, the newest trends from my hair stylist and latest knowledge from my CPA. In every case, their waiting area or lobby needs to reflect that.
Keeping your small business’s decor fresh means keeping business. In fact, Business News Daily reported a study by Monash University in Australia that showed retail sales increase nearly 50 percent after a remodel.
Regular updating is a part of life. People are quick to upgrade to a new phone, a new haircut and a new car. Businesses change their website and their marketing approach to match the times. Physical business lobbies should be no different. They can become worn and look dated.
It’s not difficult to get a fresh, new DIY look for your reception area or lobby. Here are eight easy ways to update your office or store.
1. Get Organized
As a professional organizer, I can tell you clutter is a big business turn-off. Customers may wonder about your attention to detail. They may wonder if you can keep their needs straight if you can’t keep your own lobby tidy. Begin your remodel with a decluttering. Gather up everything sitting here and there, including old decor items, and start with a clean slate.
2. Stay in Style
As you remodel, don’t go the easy route and do a fresh version of the same old thing. Color trends and popular decor change. Have your business change with the times. For example, cool wallpapers are in vogue. They aren’t your grandmother’s flowers, but are great elements from nature, such as trees, rock walls or shiplap siding. For a couple of rolls, you can get a dramatic focal point at a low cost.
3. Put on a Fresh Coat
Roll on a fresh coat of paint. You can stay in the neutral family so you can get longevity out of your choice, but make sure to match it to your flooring and other key pieces. If you want to add some interest, paint an accent wall a brighter shade—perhaps choosing a signature shade from your logo.
4. Brighten Things Up with Green
Nothing looks more dated than dusty plants, whether plastic or real. Brighten the look of your office with fresh green plants. They are always in style and you get an added bonus that they are good for the air quality. Keep a professional look by setting them into good-looking planters and keeping them well-maintained.
5. Sell Yourself
Customers waiting will pick up marketing materials and even free swag. Make sure you declutter outdated materials. Use clear acrylic or other professional-looking holders for brochures. Change company marketing posters regularly. Consider silently running a slideshow or presentation on a continuous loop.
6. Take a Whiff
Unpleasant scents can be really off-putting. As you remodel, make sure you’ve worked to get a fresh scent. Have carpets and mats cleaned. Air out the building. Invest in an air purifier if you need. You can also add an automatic air freshener that provides scent at regular intervals.
7. Offer Perks
Comfortable customers are a goal. Add some perks. A coffee bar with a single-serve coffee maker will be a winner, as will having cold water available. If your customers need to wait, make sure to provide fresh reading material. Having free Wi-Fi is a great bonus.
8. Keep Customers Charged
Everyone’s looking for an outlet to charge their phone – especially if they’ve been waiting and using it to work or entertain themselves. Make it easier for customers to find a place to charge. Add power strip so no one needs to unplug the lamp to charge. A power strip can sit on a table or be mounted in the wall. Add a friendly sign inviting phone charging.
Make sure to view your business with fresh eyes. When you see it daily, you forget to see the worn or outdated areas. Ask some customers or get a fellow business person to give you some candid feedback. Once updated, make sure to develop a plan to keep the area fresh and maintained.
Helping small and mid-sized businesses stay organized and keep their customers is a goal of Lea Schneider, a professional organizational expert who writes online for The Home Depot. If you are looking to follow up on Lea’s wallpapering ideas, you can find a wide selection of wallpaper on the Home Depot website.