As I sat in the doctor’s office with my mom a while back, I couldn’t help but notice how cold it was. In the waiting room, it was just a bunch of chairs along a wall with the receptionist busy at work behind the desk. Other than the windows on one wall, there was nothing in the room. It didn’t change when we went into the exam room. A table, a sink, a couple of chairs … and four very empty walls.
Granted, this is a heart surgeon and he doesn’t have an overly warm bedside manner. And its clearly obvious he doesn’t have a knack for decorating. But wouldn’t a few “warm” touches make the patients feel better?
The more I looked around, the more examples I began to find.
A massage therapist with a few charts and quotes hanging in her massage room.
A dentist with a VERY inexpensive framed poster hanging on the wall.
I’m sure I could go on and on, but you probably understand exactly what I’m talking about. In fact, I bet if you think for a moment, you can probably think of a friend, acquaintance, or someone you actually use in your personal life that fits what I’m talking about.
The problem is these people are probably great at what they do. The heart surgeon is one of the best in this area.
Yet none of them have spent any time studying decorating, interior design, or the art of creating a room that makes their clientele feel special. For some, they may hire a decorator to help them. But for most, they are simply small business owners that started out the way you and I did, and spent their time, energy and money on what they deemed most important. And it wasn’t what was hanging on their walls.
Which is where you come in.
While I’ve focused mainly on doctors and professionals here, by know means is that the only focus. Any business owner that brings in clientele could bring opportunity. A coffee shop. An accountant. Use your imagination.
One of the easiest ways to start the process is to find someone you know. Do you have a friend with a small business office? Of do you visit an office regularly that could use a little help?
Then mirror the opportunity with what they do. A heart surgeon’s office is probably not the right place to hang baby portraits. But it may be the perfect place to hang family portraits, especially those that contain extended family members – grandmas and grandpas.
The portrait could be a great way to bring in new business. But don’t forget the only way they will know who you are is if you tell them. A business card in the corner of the frame is great; as long as the first person can’t remove it. Make sure the small business owner doesn’t have a problem with you “advertising” your services. Then keep it subtle. “Permanently” adhere your business card to the bottom corner. Add a small plaque underneath. You may even find an office manager that is willing to put your brochures out on a table in the waiting room.
Once you have one in place, work for the next. Its easier to go into another office when you already have statistics and names following you.