Where I live, a big stretch of a major route will be under construction for the next four or five months. Although this will cause a good deal of headaches for motorists and businesses, this project is long overdue.
The really unfortunate part, however, is that the “powers that be” did not notify the businesses or nearby residents of the project in advance. Business owners drove into their parking lots one day to find piles of huge pipes. Area residents wondered about the pipes and soon received calls from the media requesting their comments regarding the project.
Gee, a simple press release or notice would have alleviated much of the ill will. Businesses and residents alike are happy this project is finally happening. The lack of notice has everyone grumbling. Since traffic will be backed up because of lane closures, residents will have a hard time getting out of their cul de sacked neighborhoods – which means more time to get to work, school and anywhere. Area businesses owners and their employees will have similar problems, plus they are worried people will avoid the road altogether or be unable to get into their businesses.
While the media (and many residents and businesses) have focused on the negative aspects of the project, several enterprising establishments along the road have rented signs to place in front of their locations. They are advertising “tired of waiting in traffic” specials, offering cute directional messages for alternative ways to get to them, displaying funny and uplifting messages to amuse drivers, and sharing free samples of their products.
Making lemonade out of lemons, or, in this case, involving your potential customers in your business dilemma, helps to build better relationships and helps them to understand why you’re special! What would you have done in this situation?