I’d like to talk about windows. Not Microsoft Windows or metaphorical windows of opportunity, but actual windows, as in your storefront windows.

My husband Blair and I were in San Francisco awhile back, riding a cable car on California Street. It struck me that every fourth or fifth shop had clean sparking windows, but all the rest were dirty and dingy. "Who would want to go into places that look so uninviting?" I wondered.

I’ll admit that I’m passionate about clean windows. I’m guessing that half of spa store owners haven’t cleaned their windows lately. I can’t think of anything easier and cheaper that would transform the first impression you give to visitors or passersby.

You may be thinking that this is a small issue in the scope of things to worry about as a small business owner. But consider this: Your windows are the first thing your customer sees when they approach your business. We all know how important first impressions are.

When you have shining, beautiful windows, it’s a gift to the street. It telegraphs that you care about being part of neighborhood and part of the local business community. Clean glass says that there are people in here who care; it’s a subliminal message that’s very powerful. And it’s something you can control easily with minimal expense.

If you have doubts about the value of sparkling glass, think about the way you feel about your car when it’s clean versus dirty. When you get it washed, it’s like night and day. With hot tubs there’s also an aspect of cleanliness that’s crucial to people feeling comfortable purchasing and using the product.

Dirty windows compromise the customer experience before they even walk in the door. Next time you’re out and about, check which businesses have clean windows and those that don’t. Check your own windows, too!

Ask yourself where you’d prefer to go and spend your hard earned dollars. You might even postulate that someone who walks into a store with dirty windows will automatically think it’s a low-priced place and hot tubs are certainly not an inexpensive product. You’re not selling a cheap product. Don’t give the impression of a being a cheap store.

There are countless aspects of running a top-notch retail store. Start with sparkling glass that invites the eyes and creates a great first impression.

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