Don't think vibes are very scientific or matter to your business? You may want to think again. There's good, solid logic and scientific backing behind why such seemingly "little" things like color, placement of desks and doors or where the boss sits have such a dramatic impact on people's experience and perception of a space, business and brand. It is because these are the very things that help shape people's perception of reality. Perceived reality in turn shapes behavior. And, you got it, behavior impacts your business.
These subconscious ways in which built environments affect us is well studied. Known as proxemics, ergonomics or space mechanics to name a few, as well as my favorite, "Residential Behavioral Architecture," these sciences study and seek to explain the multivariable ways our immediate environment impacts our lives, our choices, what we buy, our mood, the way we eat, think, live, move, work, breathe, etc. Something that Chinese masters have also known and studied for thousands of years called: Feng Shui.
Feng shui is the oft overlooked, yet never disappearing science of applied statistical outcomes that you can apply to just about anything. Used in business, it's theories can succinctly describe and accurately predict reliable outcomes that are both time-tested and authenticated through repeatable results. While outside of China, as part of the mainstream Western consciousness, feng shui is often deduced from a serious study and applied knowledge of space/time/energy/nature/behavior/lifestyle to being more or less synonymous with the type of "vibe" a space or person has, this "vibe" absolutely impacts your business whether you're consciously aware of it or not.
In short, good or bad "vibes" can make or break a business. People will either feel welcomed and relaxed in a space and want to spend time (and money) there or turn to their friend and say, "let's get the hell out of here" and never come back. This impression starts not at the front door or even at the valet, but at the initial approach to your property beginning with how the building itself is positioned on the land, what materials are there, the lighting, is there water, movement, sound, protection, etc. This is also why feng shui is known as the "art of placement."
How a building is placed tells people at a very base level wether they will be protected or put in harm's way while they spend time there. Feng shui ensures your business speaks to your clients most basic survival needs, which are a sense of safety first, then comfort, quality and balance. Real feng shui isn't woo-woo, it's the stuff that brands are built on, puts money in the bank and gets people posting good things about your business on social media. It's the elusive "it" factor.
So, does your business give off good or bad vibes? Here's a set of questions to help you determine your overall business vibe and what to do if you're giving off anything less than good vibrations:
Q1. How's business going?
a. We have lost money over the last few years.
b. We realize increasing gains each year.
Q2. What is your rate of client retention?
a. Unfortunately, we have seen fewer and fewer repeat clients than before, not sure why...
b. Our clients return repeatedly and also refer their friends.
Q3. Do people willingly spend their time and cash in your business?
a. We don't have a space for people to linger, they come in, grab what they need and go.
b. We do the things needed to keep our clients comfortable while they spend time here.
Q4. Have you regularly invested the proper care and maintenance of your space?
a. We cannot afford to update our space or pay for proper cleaning. It is looking a bit worn for wear...
b. We maintain a clean, updated appearance and regularly clean and declutter our business.
Q5. Do your employees consistently bring their A-game or do they seem "low energy"?
a. We get complaints about our employees regularly. We can't seem to keep the good ones....
b. Our employees deliver consistent performance and seem happy with their work. We retain our best employees.
Q6. Do YOU like spending time in your business?
a. I get my job done and look forward to going home so I can feel good and relax.
b. I enjoy the way my business space feels and looks, I am proud of my business and the way it operates.
Q7. What are your biggest naggers about your space?
a. There are lots of little things that annoy me on a daily basis. People in the waiting area can hear employees in the break room, patients hear the toilet every time it flushes, our carpet is worn thin, the plants in the waiting room are dying. The place smells a little funky...
b. We have occasional issues but take care of them. The space works for us and our employees are able to perform their duties in a seamless manner.
Q8. Do you receive complaints about your space?
a. We do but try to ignore them. We are still getting by.
b. Cannot remember the last one.
Q9. Do you like how your space looks, feels, flows, functions?
a. I would like more privacy. People seemed cramped. The TV is always too loud and the lighting is depressing. My office is at the back of the store but my job is done mostly with clients who stay in the front.
b. It works for us most of the time. We have built a pretty tight, seamless system and our space supports our most important roles.
Q10. Are you happy about your business when you get home?
a. I don't want to think about my business when I get home...
b. I never hesitate to tell people where I work. I like my workplace and am proud of my company.
If you answered mostly "b"s, congrats! Your business probably has a pretty good feng shui profile in that your space is designed to support the function and flow of your daily operations. Your customers likely experience your space as having an upbeat vibe!