When you run your own business, one of the many benefits is that you get to pick your own hours. This freedom to decide when you will conduct business can be a great way to have a flexible schedule. But unless you also have a lifestyle that matches those with which you’re doing business, finding hours of operation that work for both you and your customers or clients can be a difficult balance.
To help find the right times for your facilities to remain open, here are some tips on how certain variables should affect your business’ hours.
The location of your business can have a major impact on the hours of operation you should be adhering to. Not only will being in a downtown area versus a suburban area change the way you run the hours of your store, but it will also set the mood for your neighborhood of businesses and the district you create with them.
To know how to set your hours based on your location, the staff at Entrepreneur.com recommends for business owners to survey the other establishments in their area and gauge your own hours off of theirs. This includes finding out times when parking and accessibility may be an issue or when outside factors could affect the way you conduct your own business.
Depending on the demographic of people you have as your target market, your hours of peak operation will likely vary. However, to understand how this variable will work for your business, you have to have a firm grasp on how your target demographic thinks and functions as a consumer.
According to Becky McCray, a contributor to SmallBizSurvival.com, failing to be open during prime retail times, like weekend afternoons, could prove to be a huge mistake on the part of your business if your target market does a lot of shopping at this time. It’s also important to stay open longer if you have a younger target audience or want to be there for consumers that work full-time jobs. By pinpointing who will most likely come into your store and the most convenient hours for them to be shopping, you can have a good idea of which hours you should remain open.
For businesses in some industries, there is often a common understanding that you will be open at certain times. By understanding your industry and your competitors, you can know if there are specific times or days that your customers or partners will come to expect you to be doing business. For some, this includes being open 24 hours a day. If this is the type of business you’re running, Jack Bedell-Pearce, a contributor to The Guardian, advises business owners to use strategic hiring processes and shift schedules to ensure that remaining open this much is going to be financially feasible and beneficial.
Setting the hours for your business shouldn’t be something you come up with on a whim. By taking the time to understand how things like location, demographics and industry can affect your business, you should have a better idea of prime hours for your doors to be open.