Being a small business owner involves juggling a lot and constantly making decisions. Owners need to attract more customers while also improving their bottom line.
One of the simplest investments businesses can make is in trees and green spaces. Trees create an appealing environment that encourages customers to:
- Visit more often
- Shop for longer amounts of time
- Place higher value on goods being sold, therefore spending more money
These benefits have in fact been studied and proven. Yet, businesses often hesitate, citing issues with signage, sidewalks, tree debris and cost. The truth is that trees provide an opportunity to increase income streams by 20%. It’s worth looking at how businesses can work around these so called “challenges” and turn them into opportunities for growth.
- Signage. One of the most common concerns that business owners have is that trees will block their signage, making it harder for customers to find them. This is a valid concern, however there are many techniques that businesses owners can use from consistent pruning to temporary ground level signage. It is also important to note that small trees will only block signage for a year or two; the goal is for trees to grow higher than the signs and provide cooling shade and even frame signs, helping business signage stand out even more. Get tips on how trees and signage can work together.
- Sidewalk Issues. Businesses express concern about tree roots messing up sidewalk and underground infrastructure. Again, a legitimate concern, but this issue can be avoided if sidewalk friendly tree species are chosen or if the planting site is adequate. Other techniques such as grates, rubber sidewalks, or sidewalk redesign that allow for wider root zone are other options to encourage trees and sidewalks to live in harmony. We should also remember that tree roots bring important benefits to the community as they manage rainfall infiltration and help clean the water.
- Messy (falling leaves, flowers and fruit). Overall, this is a minor inconvenience compared to potential return on investment that trees provide. It could be thought of as the cost of re-ordering inventory in order to have best-selling product on the shelf. And the truth is, some species are “messier” than others – trees that drop fruit orleaves may be better suited in parks or yard spaces. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of species selection – Selecting and Planting the Right Tree in the Right Place – which can make all the difference in getting the benefits of shade and atmosphere in a retail environment with less work.
- Costly to Maintain. Costs are of course any businesses’ number one concern, at the same time any smart business owner knows that costs must be looked at in terms of the returns on investment. If tree maintenance is done properly and regularly, the returns should outweigh the costs. In fact, the majority of maintenance costs should occur during the trees early years in order to provide a strong structure. Most costs after the first five years are associated with correcting poor care that was done during the tree’s early years. Otherwise, most trees only need infrequent pruning.
As a business owner, it makes sense to grow your business like a tree. We encourage you to branch out and use all the tools you can to help your business grow…including trees!