Did you know that Canada’s road network is long enough to circle the equator more than 19 times? That’s a lot of roads—and a lot of maintenance. For small business owners, it can seem like a never-ending construction season as road repairs ensue right at their doorstep. This can cause more than just a migraine: the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found that 41 percent of small businesses (PDF) in Canada have been disrupted by local construction projects since 2012.
Clearly, construction season can make it hard to attract customers to your door. These tips, coupled with small business promotional items, can help your business thrive during road construction.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communicating early and often about impending street repairs not only prepares customers, but it also keeps your business top of mind, too. Post yard signs near your business with alternate directions. Create a map that outlines alternative routes and parking options as well as any changes to your store hours. Get this info out via social media, email and direct mail. Let customers know that if they stop in and mention your post or mailer, they’ll be entered into a draw for a small business gift, like a wind chime or set of bamboo coasters.
Form an alliance
Are there neighbouring businesses also feeling the construction crunch? Band together to jointly market your establishments during the construction. Offer a punch-card promotion to visiting customers. Once customers receive punches from all businesses on the card, give them a free gift. Choose a small business promotional item appropriate for your establishment, like a logoed shopping tote or pub glass.
Hold an event
You can turn your temporary misfortune into a success when you transform it into an event. Schedule it during construction as a way to get people in the door. Consider offering a shuttle service to mitigate parking issues. Or wait until construction is complete and host a party to say “Thanks for sticking it out!” Tell your guests to invite a friend—then send everyone on their way with a small business gift to commemorate the event. Branded sport bottles and tech charging kits are excellent choices.
Make new customers
Welcome construction workers into your store. Print up several membership cards and ask the foreperson to distribute them to anyone working on your roads. Those who present the card get a special perk—maybe a percentage off their purchase; a discount on a cup of coffee; or a free cookie with a sandwich purchase. You just may end up making new lifelong customers.
Use construction-mitigation assistance: Some communities offer construction-mitigation assistance (PDF) for small businesses to help alleviate the impact of road construction on sales. The type of aid available varies by location but can come in the form of community outreach, advertising and promotion, and even grants. Check with local government agencies for available programs in your area.
These tips and small business promotional items will drive them to your business even during construction season. Best of luck!