This being the season of natural bounty here in Northwest Indiana, I went to the farmers market to stock up on freshly picked, just-out-of-the-garden corn, lettuce, tomatoes, and squash.
I walked the entire market without buying anything so I can see all my options, make comparisons and then double back and make my purchases from the vendors I have selected.
As I walked among the booths, I realized this market is an amazing place to think about many business topics such as culture, visual merchandising, customer service and communications. All the competitors are in one spot.
So, as I walked I made mental notes of those that appear to be good businesspeople and others that fall short.
The booths of the businesses I judged to be good businesses were attractively laid out. Their products were neatly arranged, some in bins, some in baskets, some in rows making their products appear fresher, more tasty and more attractive.
Clearly written signs communicated the product names and prices. People manning these booths are typically neat and tidy, some wearing caps and aprons or tee shirts. A few have the company name and logo on their apparel.
I observed that these booths seem to have gotten their staff to be aware of the need to showcase their products by rearranging the produce constantly after a customer has rummaged through the display looking for the best products so the displays always look beautiful.
Contrasting that, there are quite a few booths where the products look picked over, their displays don’t get rearranged constantly, and signs are few and far between. Booth workers appear slovenly in some booths.
Some don’t even announce the prices so shoppers have to ask, which means if the booth workers are busy, there is no one to ask and the potential sale goes somewhere else.
Your business, in many ways, is just like having a booth at the farmers market. Think through your culture, visual merchandising, signage and other communications and ask yourself how would you compete if all your competition is right next to you.