When we first started the business, every decision we made was intentional. From the way the door handle feels in your hand when you enter our shop, to the first smells and sounds that hit your senses, to our friendly cheesemonger greeting. While we try to maintain that focus on intentionality, I admit it’s gotten more challenging as we grow. Every action – or inaction – has a result or consequence. I remember training our team on how and when to greet a customer. It can’t happen when they first step inside, or they might feel attacked. Let their eyes adjust to the light. Five steps in, welcome them. Never say, “What can I help you with?” Instead, ask them how they’re doing, about their day, and hold out a sample for them to try. Break down the barriers. Build community. Be a friendly face.
“But John, what if they say, ‘I’m just looking; I don’t need anything.’ We don’t want to be pushy.” Asking someone how they’re doing isn’t pushy; it’s considerate. And in fact, trying to “give them their space” in a small shop like ours just feels awkward, like we’re all ignoring each other. It certainly doesn’t make cheese less pretentious (a goal of ours). So instead, I offer a friendly interaction… and samples. There’s always room for more positivity in this world. That’s an example of how intention operates in our business – literally timing our greeting to incoming customers (either returning friends or soon-to-be new friends).
This year, we’re focusing on the nuts and bolts. And I’m hoping that gives us some space to look at everything with a critical eye again and ask, “Are we doing this intentionally? Or did it just happen to develop that way out of a quick need?” We’ve got a lot of opportunities to improve and be better, starting with intent. How are you practicing intentionality this year?