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8 ways to keep your small business going during road construction


March 12, 2011 at midnight
Updated March 11, 2011 at 9:12 p.m.

Construction work along Main Street in downtown Victoria hasn't stopped customers from visiting a local coffee shop for a jolt of java. Workers are busy installing the new brick pavers, as well as the sidewalk and water lines.

From portions of Laurent Street gouged out a few feet down to the barricaded sections of Main Street, construction is under way to give the Crossroads' streets and sidewalks a bit of a facelift.

But, while the work means future improvement, it can mean stress and headaches for business owners in the days leading to its completion.

Here are some ways for small businesses to weather the issues that go along with road construction.

1. STAY POSITIVE. The stress can take a toll on you, but a positive attitude reflects back to both the customers and employees. It makes a difference.

2.CONTACT THE CITY WITH QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS. The city can place signs on corners to help customers detour around construction and can move heavy equipment if it blocks the store or its entrance. It's easy to get worked up about the construction, but people can help.

3.CREATE AN EYE-CATCHING DISPLAY. Set up flags or place merchandise outside to catch people's attention as they pass by. It can be difficult for drivers to notice anything except the road construction.

4.GET WORD OUT THAT YOU'RE STILL OPEN. Advertise in newspapers, send customer e-mails and host special sales so people know the business is still up and running. Within the ads, explain the easy detours it takes to get to the business.

5.EMBRACE CHANGE. Sometimes it takes creativity to weather the construction. Add a new sign, give the building an updated paint job or enlist other methods to keep people talking about the business.

6.INCREASE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE. Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and other social media tools are all free ways to boost people's awareness of a business online. Let people know the business is still open, and keep them up-to-date on what's happening with the company.

7. THANK YOUR LONG-TIME CUSTOMERS. Let loyal shoppers or clients know you appreciate their continued patronage, especially during times like construction. It might urge them to keep coming back.

8. REMEMBER THE ONCOMING BENEFITS. Construction might be a hassle but, in the end, it will mean improved property, better roads and possibly more traffic for the business. Keep that in mind throughout the process.

Sources: Jennifer Henry, owner of Encore Resale Shoppe, and Jeremy Hester, barista at Longleaf Coffee Co.



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