It seems to me to be plain old common sense: In order to sell your products to your customers, you have to be open for business when they are available to buy. So why, then, are so many businesses closed when they should be open?

A case in point: There’s the cutest clothing boutique in my neighborhood. I love the trendy styles, and have purchased a number of items there since the store opened a few years ago. However, recently, it seems as though the store is never open. I used to be able to pop in whenever I had an extra few minutes, but now the sign on the door says they are open only on certain days for a specific number of hours. Unfortunately, they are losing my business and I imagine a lot of other customers as well.

I dealt with a similar situation with a professional services business. A doctor friend of mine decided to open a medi-spa. The spa’s hours corresponded with his regular medical office hours, Monday–Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and a half day on Friday. In order to make an appointment for one of the spa services, you have go during the day — which means most likely you’ll have to take off from work.

The doctor’s wife, who was running the new venture, asked me if I would be willing to make an appointment to try the spa services and share some feedback. So I asked if there were any evening or Saturday hours available — even though I knew the answer would be no. And “no” was my response to her because I won’t take time away from my business to go to the spa. (Plus, I’m not a big spa person to start with.)

The doctor worries about the viability of the medi-spa — particularly in this economy, when people are cutting back on such luxuries. The spa isn’t generating the kind of revenue he anticipated. Doesn’t surprise me. Over half of all women work today, and it’s working women who have the disposable income to spend on spa services. He isn’t meeting the needs of his customer base.

If you’re wondering why your revenues are dwindling or aren’t growing, take a look at your customer interface. Are you available when your customers want you to be?

No one likes working nights and weekends, but if the nature of your business demands it, then that’s the way it is. Make it easy for customers to do business with you and you will be rewarded. It’s a simple equation. Give customers what they want.

Have you ever changed your business’ hours of operation because customers asked you to? Share your thoughts in the comments below.