One day recently I went to my local "Water n Ice" only to find it stripped bare and deserted. The scene reminded me of those old movies when someone left their car in a bad neighborhood and came back to a completely stripped car. The store was totally cleaned out. At first a small wave of surprise came over me and then it quickly shifted to acceptance of the inevitable. I knew they weren't going to make it and sure I would like to credit my psychic powers, but I didn't need my third eye to foresee this one.
I first started going to the store when the new owners came in at the end of the year. The owner was a fairly young guy with an old school fro and a nice smile. He was very kind and even gave me a discount on the the bottles I purchased. He had a repeat customer in me. He told me about how excited he was to start his own business and I was inspired because I as well was starting a business. Things seemed to start off great for them. Him and his charismatic brother ran the store and though they put in long hours they seemed to be pretty optimistic. But eventually I found myself preferring to use the 24 hour water machine outside and avoiding their store hours. So what happened?
Well great customer service turned into lazy customer service as they added new employees who seemed confused about why they were there. Each new employee looked like they were just taken out of a meth rehabilitation center with the original clothes they went in with. Every time I went into the store, it had a funny smell of corn chips mixed in with stale cigarette smoke. Eventually, probably after a few gentle complaints, it smelled like air freshener, corn chips and cigarette smoke. My water was near all of this. Yuck! The old, lackluster signage, which I often examined, looked like they didn't make any attempt to attract new customers. Nothing about the design of the store was pleasing to the eye. They could afford a big, useless, flat-screen tv, but not paint. Water n Ice is a place known for its ice cream as much as it is for their water. When I was younger I used to save up my allowance for a butter pecan cone. Somehow they made their ice cream look absolutely unappealing because they looked so grungy. I'm vegan, but well-presented ice cream and groomed people can at least bring back good memories.
I feel like they felt the water and ice cream would sell itself. In fact the owner kind of told me this and clearly he proved himself wrong. Almost every time I came home I would tell my mother about the slow decay of the store. She told me to offer them advice, but I found that the owner was very resistant so I left it alone, and after awhile I didn't see him anymore. The biggest problem with this store is that it seemed to be the antithesis of its product. No one, and I mean no one in the store appeared to have an intimate relationship with water. They would often wear poorly fitting attire in black, gray, or faded colors. The place felt dirty even if it wasn't. I never saw evidence of dirt, but I could feel it in my pores, through to my bones. I couldn't understand how they missed this concept of clean, fresh, purified water. How do you sell water while drinking a big gulp? How do you sell water with ashy skin? It was the weirdest thing.
So there I was, in need of water, looking into a shell of a store with a sloppy handwritten sign that read, "closed". On my intelligent phone I found that there was a water place up the road a bit. When I got there, I felt an immediate difference. There were hearts in the windows. They had cute tables and chairs for people to enjoy their ice cream. They were closed so I had to use the outdoor water machine. It was less convenient because I needed coins but when I tasted the water, it was sweeter. It was truly sweeter.
I share this story because it served as a powerful lesson for me. If you are going to offer a service, you need to be and show that you are a recipient of the service you are offering. People feel and even taste the difference. I supported the old store because I wanted to see them succeed. They were nice guys even if they were a little misguided but eventually I found myself avoiding them. I also learned that it is important to be open to guidance. There are people who want to help but if you act like you have all of the answers, you shut them out. I would have suggested that they invest in uniforms and better signage. I would have also suggested that they tighten up their hiring criteria and change their lifestyle as much as possible to reflect the product they are selling. These simple suggestions could have made a gigantic difference on their business.
So just so you know... I practice Reiki every day on myself. Anything that I suggest you do, I have done with lots of success. I do spiritual work all day and night and always look for new lessons to learn so that I may be of greater service to my clients (such as this one). I meditate daily. I am in a great love affair with myself - so when I tell you to love yourself, it is because I know how much it has changed my life. And as I learn how to grow a business, I am open to suggestions. If you have any, shoot them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org. My recent addition of pricing suggestions on my What I Offer page was in direct response to my clients saying they needed a little help. AND I drink lots of water, though not as much as I would like. Now that my water is sweeter, I am sure things will change.
No matter what your business is, it all comes back to you. Don't push it because you think it is a easy sell, do it because you LOVE what you are selling. You may say this is common sense but sometimes we miss these lessons chasing after money or being caught up in the stress of life...
If you sell tires, have the best tires on your vehicles.
If you speak of joy, be prepared to show and prove how you are joyous.
If you sell water, look like you use it.
If you sell health, be and look healthy.
If you are an healer, heal yourself.
If you are a teacher, teach yourself.
If you are a sexual master, master yourself sexually.