If you own a business along a street or in a neighborhood that is being revitalized with buildings under renovation, roadwork or new construction, it’s often a good news-bad news situation. Good news: Individuals and municipalities are investing in something that should add value to your business in the long term. Bad news: The chaos of roadwork or another company’s construction could cause customers to avoid your street completely.
This is your challenge: How to keep sales thriving until the end of the project.
Does your community provide construction mitigation assistance?
Most communities across the U.S., provide various types of services–even financial compensation in a few–to help mitigate the impact of street construction on the operation of a business. One of the few studies of the use of community assistance to small businesses during construction is one done in 2010 by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The study was developed for Madison, Wisconsin and revealed these construction mitigation activities of 33 communities in Wisconsin[table “” not found /]
No mitigation? Still, ask for assistance and cooperation from local agencies
If loans, compensation or another form of assistance is not available, the most valuable help a city can provide is lots of heads-up. In many instances, a city knows far in advance that construction will be taking place. Zoning and construction permits often take months. Re-paving plans are scheduled years in advance. Subscribe to email updates from any relevant city departments, like zoning or public works. Knowing far enough in advance can provide the planning period you need to plan for the disruption period.
Start an alliance with all impacted businesses
We have stressed the importance of working together with other businesses to jointly market a village or neighborhood marketplace. This is especially true when a part of, or all of the business district is facing a challenge like construction. Develop planning groups that can work on marketing and promotional activities that will turn the construction period into a branded event with special discounts and promotions.
Use social media, email and the web to communicate with customers
Use the months leading up the project to keep customers informed. This is best done cooperatively with other businesses in the community. On a special website, provide maps of temporary parking areas. Use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to show photos of progress and to remind customers of special events, discounts and activities. Keep your customers informed on how important it is–and how much you appreciate them–for their support during the construction project.
Become friends with contractors and their crews
Despite the way you may really feel, go out of your way to welcome the workers. Helping them out will result in them seeking to work in ways that minimize the impact of their work on your operation.
Celebrate the finish with a big event
To let the greater community know that the construction is complete, throw a party or another type of event. Use it to thank customers for their support–and to remind them to let their friends know your business is back to normal (except better).
Note: Finally, we’ve found a reason to use this throw-back, early internet era, blinking caution light. Enjoy.