It Was an Open and Shut Case Or Not

A couple weeks ago my wife and I went shopping. We are thinking of upgrading something in our home and have been spending time getting ideas, checking out our options, comparing style, price, and quality.

We drove up to the front door of one potential vendor. The sign said, “CLOSED.” I started backing the car out of the parking space muttering something about, “Gee they shouldn’t be closed on a Saturday morning.” My alert wife noticed some lights inside and other cars in the parking lot so I waited with she tried the door. Sure enough, they were open.

We walked around, looked at some samples. The salesperson slowed us their product and told us of their services. Later, while leaving, I glanced at the “CLOSED” sign and went back to tell the salesperson. “Wow! No wonder it’s been so slow today, you’re the first people that came in and usually we’re pretty busy.”

It obviously was an oversight as everything about this store was high quality. The showroom was attractive and well maintained. But how many people didn’t try that door that morning? How much business did they lose?

Something little like flipping the sign to “OPEN” can mean so much to the ultimate success or failure of a business. No single detail can make a business prosper or fail, but details get compounded over time until, some day, the business becomes a great company or a failed company… open or shut. There are no “little” details!

Larry Galler coaches and consults with high-performance executives, professionals, and small businesses since 1993. He is the writer of the long-running (every Sunday since November 2001) business column, "Front Lines with Larry Galler" Sign up for his free newsletter at Questions??? Send an email to

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