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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Remodeling Your Small Business

Even successful businesses can't overlook the benefits of a remodeling job. Consumer preferences are constantly in flux, but one constant is that they want to work with businesses that have kept up with the times. In most cases, that means businesses need to look their best and be finely tuned machines if they want to impress their consumer base.

But there are also financial incentives to a business remodel. In some cases, this renovation could improve workplace efficiency and productivity. It could also help lower operating costs for the organization. The process of remodeling can be as expensive or as cheap as you choose to make it, but even on a small budget there are some aspects you'll want to be sure to address.

Small businesses may not have the spending latitude of larger organizations, but by being resourceful they can get much greater value out of a remodel. Here are some tips to get you started.

Upgrade the Checkout Area
The checkout area tends to have the greatest impact on customers, in part because it's the most heavily trafficked. This is also where the bulk of customer-employee exchange takes place, so if you're going to invest in a total makeover of one part of your business, the checkout area is the place. Consider upgrading cash registers if you're using an old one, and invest in clean, attractive surfaces like new counter-tops. Minimize clutter and add a few decorative pieces to bring some personality to this part of the business.

You can justify these expenses by reminding yourself of the cheaper operating costs you'll gain as a result. If you can swing it financially, this type of upgrade always makes sense.

Invest In Energy Efficiency
Improved fixtures and equipment will look good, and they'll also help you save. Invest in energy-efficient products that are both seen and invisible; even if customers can't see the upgrades, they can help lower your utilities bills and reduce your business overhead. These might include Energy STAR certified appliances, eco-friendly toilets and faucets, conservative lighting fixtures and energy-efficient electrical ballasts, which better regulate the amount of electricity going into lights to cut down on wasted energy.

Promote Cleanliness and Thorough Repairs
If you can't afford to do a major overhaul of your small business, the best thing you can to do bolster the impact of more minor remodeling is to keep your premises clean and functional. Dust and dirt can make brand-new finishes look old quickly, and lagging repair work such as burned-out lights, broken blinds, chipped glass displays and other unsightly marks can paint the picture of a business in disrepair. If your business is well-cared for, customers will be more forgiving of your humble confines.

Decorate To Overcome Structural Deficiencies
A remodeling of your business' layout isn't always feasible. The same is true for other large-scale remodels, such as bringing in new display cases and swapping out furniture. If you're limited in funds, don't worry about making the big changes. Instead focus on making smaller, lower-cost renovations that affect the larger scope of your business.

The first thing to do is invest in a fresh coat of paint on the walls. This will brighten the colors in your business and imbue the space with a sense of newness. Polish all wood or stone surfaces and hang pictures, mirrors, artwork and other wall decor to add style at a nominal cost. Other decorative features should be included where appropriate, as these will attract the eyes of customers and serve as distractions from the less beautiful aspects of your property.

Remodeling a small business can be a lot of work especially when you're trying to prioritize your projects but it's a job that usually pays off in the end. Whether you're saving money, impressing customers or accomplishing both at once, remodeling work will make your business more viable going forward. And when you're trying to topple the corporate giants working in your industry, that's an opportunity you can't afford to ignore.