Boutique Business Decisions with Intention

When you are marketing your boutique hotel or small business, do you ask why? It will strengthen your brand, your team, and your customer experience.

Credit Jason Briscoe @jasonbriscoe

Credit Jason Briscoe @jasonbriscoe


As a small business owner you have to make endless decisions. . . . .

What time to open.

What to say when you answer the phone.

What your brand colors are.

What people wear to work.

What social media channels you spend your energy on.

What your invoices or receipts look like. What sort of tea and coffee to serve.

On and on . . . . .

How do you make those decisions?

Is it because it’s the way it’s always been done? Because you know it works? Does it really work? Could it work better?

Do you ever ask WHY you do things a certain way?

The questions below are real questions that I have had just this past month. I only wish the owners of the businesses had asked them. (The thoughts in italics are what I was thinking in my jumbled up head)

  • Why did they serve the butter wrapped in foil rather than in a ramekin? (because their customers care that the butter has never been touched? because it is easier on the staff and the servers? because if they put it in ramekins, they would have to cover them and that takes more time and effort?)

  • Why is hotel checkout at 1:00? (because all the other hotels have checkout at 11am, so this is something better? because they already know that 80% of their guests don’t check in until after 5pm, so it is a benefit they can pass on to their current guests?)

  • Why do the barstools not have backs? (because they don’t want people getting too comfortable? because they were on sale? because it fits the decor?)

  • Why were there six speakers at the event rather than 2-3? (because of office politics? because the program was strategically scripted and this was the most effective way? because this is the format we have used for years? because the board president’s ego is huge and and we had to add him and his wife?)

You have probably heard or watched the famous Simon Sinek Golden Circle presentation for TEDx. (if not, bookmark it to watch later.). His talk gets much deeper into the why you are even in business in the first place, and some of the thought here are similar.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
— Simon Sinek

If you become more intentional in your details, you become better branded and you better position your business.

  1. Go back to the touchpoints exercise. Then with your team, chose five-ish. And yes, this can become both overwhelming and exhausting if you’re not careful. Don’t try to go through every single one. Identify a handful that seem the most important and start there.

  2. Ask yourself (and your team) why you do it this way. (and, “because we have always done it this way” is not a good answer) Drill down deeper and figure out why you did it this way in the first place. Yes, tried and true might be the case, but still, you need to know why and The Way We’ve Always Done It is not a why.

  3. Is this the best way?

  4. Brainstorm new ways. Tip: if you are doing this with your team, appoint one person to be the customer. This is a GREAT way to get your staff to shift perspective and see through the eyes of the customer. (see quick video below)

  5. Then, go look at that touchpoint from your customer’s perspective. Is the value there?


Will your customers notice all those little details that you are now so proud of? Maybe not all. But they will know they feel a little different. Something is just a little bit better - makes a little more sense.

Congratulations. You’ve just taken steps to strengthen your brand, delight your customers, and better train your staff. Not bad for a couple of hours, is it?

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