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This works great if you actually want to lock up and call it a day, or go do some errands or pick up some takeout. You're not lying and you're not giving them any choices. It doesn't work if you are thinking to yourself "look, I don't get any money for listening to your blither blather so if you're not going to order anything can you go move along and host this little party somewhere else." If that's your thought, don't lock your store up and leave. Try asking them if you can get them anything else.Try asking them if you can get them anything else. That's a very strong social signal that you are in a place of business. While it can be argued that having people in the store attracts more people to come in, that doesn't mean you need to welcome them to stay all day after buying a single item and long since finishing it.

This works great if you actually want to lock up and call it a day, or go do some errands or pick up some takeout. You're not lying and you're not giving them any choices. It doesn't work if you are thinking to yourself "look, I don't get any money for listening to your blither blather so if you're not going to order anything can you go move along and host this little party somewhere else." If that's your thought, don't lock your store up and leave. Try asking them if you can get them anything else. That's a very strong social signal that you are in a place of business. While it can be argued that having people in the store attracts more people to come in, that doesn't mean you need to welcome them to stay all day after buying a single item and long since finishing it.

This works great if you actually want to lock up and call it a day, or go do some errands or pick up some takeout. You're not lying and you're not giving them any choices. It doesn't work if you are thinking to yourself "look, I don't get any money for listening to your blither blather so if you're not going to order anything can you go move along and host this little party somewhere else." If that's your thought, don't lock your store up and leave. Try asking them if you can get them anything else. That's a very strong social signal that you are in a place of business. While it can be argued that having people in the store attracts more people to come in, that doesn't mean you need to welcome them to stay all day after buying a single item and long since finishing it.

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And as a small business owner people were always giving me unsolicited advice that was rarely useful. They meant well, but explaining why they were wrong didn't work for me. When I started using the "its"it's my business" line (a pun) I was in a lot less arguments, and seemed to get more respect as well.

And as a small business owner people were always giving me unsolicited advice that was rarely useful. They meant well, but explaining why they were wrong didn't work for me. When I started using the "its my business" line (a pun) I was in a lot less arguments, and seemed to get more respect as well.

And as a small business owner people were always giving me unsolicited advice that was rarely useful. They meant well, but explaining why they were wrong didn't work for me. When I started using the "it's my business" line (a pun) I was in a lot less arguments, and seemed to get more respect as well.

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Politeness makes it hard to tell them to do anything. However, brains are weird, and you may have far better success regretting to inform them of something you have to do, and the consequences for them of that obligation. However, the thing you have to do must be chosen carefully. Not that you need to leave for a moment, or that you need to go and do a thing. As you've seen, they can offer you alternative suggestions to achieve that goal without making them leave. Instead:

Sorry everyone it's time for me to lock up -- I have to ask you to move on.

or the famous

You don't have to go home, folks, but you can't stay here, I need to lock up in 5 minutes.

You don't explain why you need to lock up. You don't say it's closing time, because they can point to your sign and argue that you don't close for another 3 hours. You don't say it's been a slow day and if you're not bringing in revenue you might as well go home and get some sleep. There is nothing to argue with in "I need to lock up". They might ask why, but you don't need to answer. You can laugh to keep things light, while not answering them. Look forward to seeing them next time. Thank them for coming in and for being regulars, "my favourite customers!" Urge them to enjoy the rest of their day and hope to see them again soon.

This works great if you actually want to lock up and call it a day, or go do some errands or pick up some takeout. You're not lying and you're not giving them any choices. It doesn't work if you are thinking to yourself "look, I don't get any money for listening to your blither blather so if you're not going to order anything can you go move along and host this little party somewhere else." If that's your thought, don't lock your store up and leave. Try asking them if you can get them anything else. That's a very strong social signal that you are in a place of business. While it can be argued that having people in the store attracts more people to come in, that doesn't mean you need to welcome them to stay all day after buying a single item and long since finishing it.

If you are not locking up but just want them to go, you've asked once or twice "can I get anyone anything else", the store is otherwise empty, then you could try asking them how much longer they think they will be. Something like

How much longer are you planning to stay here today?

Resist the urge to tell them why you need to know. Whether they tell you an absolute time (3:30) or a duration (about another hour), look firmly at a clock or your watch or your phone. This makes it clear that you are using their answer. You can even do the math and say "so 30 minutes" if they told you a time or "so till 5pm" if they told you a duration. Something that gets them thinking about what time it is and how long they've been there. You don't need to say "ok" or "that's great" or "sure sure no problem" or anything else. Maybe just "thanks" like you would if you asked someone what time it is. Just as asking if they want to order more items reminds them this is a business, asking when they will leave reminds them they've been here some time already and will eventually need to leave.

As you say, they've got all day. They like the atmosphere in your place. That's great. But you are the one who runs your business and you are the one who makes the decisions. In fact any time someone offers to watch your till, or asks you questions that are at a business-owner level, a good response is to say "don't worry, it's my business to run my business, I've got this."


I am drawing on several sets of background for this. One is university lecturer, where students would not leave the room after class and I couldn't leave them alone in the room. I just told them "I have to lock up now" - things I had been saying before had not worked. The other is when I've been with a large group in a restaurant and we've stayed in a place until they literally started putting chairs on the tables. In hindsight you go "oh, all those times they came and asked if we wanted anything else when we had already said no twice... I get it now."

And as a small business owner people were always giving me unsolicited advice that was rarely useful. They meant well, but explaining why they were wrong didn't work for me. When I started using the "its my business" line (a pun) I was in a lot less arguments, and seemed to get more respect as well.