The $0 Small-Business Hack for Increased Sales

coffee-house-large  I know everything you ever wanted to know about scheduling unreliable staff. I also know more than most about the drama of relationships between 20-somethings in small-town California.


Because those topics are discussed at length behind the counter of my local coffee shop. The stream of chatter among the baristas is interrupted just long enough to take my order and my money, and then it’s back to in-the-know gossip while my espresso brews.

The scene is harmless, really, and it happens so often in most coffee shops, tasting rooms and farmer’s markets, that I hardly notice it.

But it’s a real shame. Because while I stand there unengaged, I could instead be connecting with the staff, if they invited it, and add a cookie to my order. I could be supplying my email address for their list in response to a smiling request, and I could be increasing my emotional connection to the establishment.

The Walt Disney Institute, the brains behind Disney’s industry-leading guest experience, trains staff to consider the difference between “On Stage” and “Off Stage.” The concept is obvious: When guests can see you, you’re on stage. You control their experience, and it better be good.

Disney then designates an off-stage area. That’s were the customers can’t see or hear the staff, and that’s where the discussions of staffing, weekends and baseball games should take place.

When defined and executed properly, the result of on/off stage is increased customer engagement, increased sales, and increased word-of-mouth referrals, all at a cost of $0. Does that sound too good to be true? I bet the response from highly engaged customers will prove otherwise.


ps.  Thank you guys for following along, sending your comments and signing up by email.  We love the topic of small business in agriculture, and we love having this conversation with you about it.


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