Weird things that matter when you’re running a business.

I live in New England, where we’ve been getting an unholy amount lots of snow over the past few weeks. It’s a project to dig a car out and clear it off post-storm. Common sense dictates one would clear off one’s car completely.

But some people don’t. Some people clear most of their windshield, maybe a little of the rear window, and set out onto the roads putting other people in danger.
That’s a mark of character, I think. And I wasn’t too sad to see the state police pulling people over for it during the recent blizzard.

car covered in snow

photo via the MA State Police Facebook page:


I’m a hardass. I know I skew a little stricter than average about guidelines and rules, especially when it comes to running a business. Just like the snow-on-the-car thing (but certainly not as dangerous), I think there are actions and inactions that indicate character in a business owner. I think they matter.

Where you park your car
Some business owners park in a spot far away from their entrance, reserving the closer spots for customers. And I’ve seen others take the spot closest to the door, and stay parked there all day while clients have to schlepp from a distance, both before and after their massage.

The bottom line here is, are you making convenience a priority for you or your client? Your clients will catch on to that.

(Yes, I know that not everyone can control the parking situation around their business. If that’s the case, this doesn’t apply to you.)

What you wear
I know. I KNOW. People get piffy about this one. But the reality is, if you show up every day in ragged yoga pants, dirty sneakers, and a tshirt, it’s pretty damn clear that you don’t respect your work. Our ‘uniforms’ will vary according to environment. But the clothes you wear for work should always be clean, not worn-out, and not overly-casual.

Oh- and let’s have a little side chat about wearing custom tshirts with ignorant puns or ‘jokes’ about massage. Stop it. Your profession is not a joke. It’s a career, dammit. A career that has the potential to change lives. Unless of course, those people think you’re an unprofessional twit who wears silly tshirts. Then they will never come to you for massage and you will never change lives. “I’ve got your back” is fun. “I’m a massage therapist, I get paid to hurt people” is not.

Your trash
We need trash baskets. They will often have trash in them. This isn’t rocket science. But if you let them hang out more than half full for days at a time, it looks bad. It looks like you can’t be bothered to empty your trash. If you let them hang out full and overfull, it looks even worse. Trash is a visible indicator of how clean the rest of your office is, even the not-so-visible parts. Make it a good indicator.

What else? What are the little ‘things’ you notice that turn you on or off to certain businesses?

21 thoughts on “Weird things that matter when you’re running a business.

  1. Always make sure the toilet paper roll has enough on it for whatever happens with the next bathroom occupant. And paper towel for after. I wipe the counter down after washing my hands to get rid of the excess water that was splashed around.

  2. If the wood floor has dust bunnies or the rug needs to be vacuumed. Also check the ceiling for cobwebs. I have a massage once a month in my own space to get the client perspective. The first time i did was eye opening.

  3. I give the client the “better” chair for the intake and the end of the session. Clients should not have to sit on your rolling stool.

    Please don’t be paying your bills in the massage space or the waiting room when I get there either.

  4. Get face cradle covers, not pillow cases. Just a tiny touch that makes a big difference. Oh and quasi decent sheets. I know they’re not cheap, but the cheap sheets really absorb oil and reek after just a few uses.

  5. The grammar in this article is horrible. It’s hard to read ‘to’ versus ‘too’ etc… If you’re going to write something, have someone edit it first.

    • Thank you for pointing out my gross and offensive humanity. Upon proofreading, I did find and correct 3 typos. Apologies for the disrespectful waste of your time.

      We’re all just doing the best we can and this blog is a labor of love, with NO ONE making any money from it. In fact, we lose money on domain & admin fees. We’re just trying to be somewhat useful to others in the bits of spare time we can grab.

      That said, if bitching about typos is the best comment you could come up with and that’s all you took from this post, you’re not really the kind of reader I’m looking for anyhow. So I won’t lose any sleep over your exit.

  6. Great article! Clutter is a huge pet peeve of mine in a business. I take every little thing to heart in my office – dust, dirt, smells, temperature, appearance, noise, music volume….

    • Oh, and the parking deal… You hit the nail on the head. It pisses me off when the front parking spaces are full of employee vehicles (my building neighbors)!!

  7. Dust, dust, dust. It collects quickly and it’s noticeable. Also, maybe I’m going far with this one-but be mindful of the foods you bring to lunch. Some dishes really smell when heated up and it lingers. good article :)

  8. Little things have always been a big deal to me. I follow many other massage businesses on FB and am amazed at how much personal stuff they post-it’s just not appropriate and how is that marketing your business. Thanks as always Alissa.

  9. Thanks for mentioning those terrible custom t-shirts with the dumb sayings. Excellent article and wonderful reminders throughout.

  10. Air Filters – make sure to change them regularly as well as dust them. I look at them everywhere I go – offices, shops, homes, etc. It tells you a lot about people.

  11. I love the righteous rant on “funny” t-shirts! I’ve been trying to think of shirt ideas myself (maybe to sell, maybe to give away), and this will definitely inform my design choices :)

  12. presentation presentation presentation….omg I can not say it enough, i loved the article and the replies (except for the typo one) I am so uptight about the little things that even wrinkled blankets and sheets drive me nuts.

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