Nothing is more exciting, or nerve-wracking, for a business than its grand opening. They say that the first impressions are the most important, and this is no less true for your new business. While the grand opening may not necessarily make or break you, it can have a lot to do with how easy your first fiscal year will be, and set the stage for how your market will respond to you, so you want to make the best impression you can. After all, your business will only have its grand opening once — this isn’t Bob’s Burgers.
With all the pressure leading up to your opening, it can be easy to let some common, or even uncommon sense, slip your mind. So we’ve put together a short list of tips to keep in mind as you approach the Big Day.
Don’t Rush Things
You only have one grand opening, and it’s important not only to ensure that your event preparations are in hand, but that your opening stock is as well. Your staff, likewise, needs to be prepared for the roles they will play in your operations on day one and beyond. Rome, as they say, wasn’t built in a day, so give yourself time to breathe.
Try to give yourself two or three months to prepare before you open. This gives you time to set up shop, train and organize your team, and establish your marketing arm to get the word out there. Advertising especially will need some time to get going – if you haven’t educated your market to your upcoming business and its opening, your turnout could end up being less than spectacular. Let your plans come into their own, and make sure that you’re ready to build on your success as your business gains its legs.
Get the Word Out
While you prepare for your opening, make sure that you’re already building your business presence in the marketplace. In today’s world, this means a combination of digital methods as well as traditional staples like print advertising and signage. As you are establishing your physical location, make sure you’ve built a functional website to represent your business online. Implement a blog, so you can showcase your products, services, and expertise by engaging with your customers even as you are preparing to open for the first time. And don’t wait until the day you first raise your business flag to start your physical marketing — even something as simple as a “Coming Soon!” banner on your shop’s windows will be enough to garner interest from people on the streets. Posters in the area and marketing in local papers and online communities can help continue to generate interest as you get closer to your opening.
Business cards are a classic piece of traditional advertising. Simply the act of giving someone a business card is more likely to keep your business on their mind, and that carries on into business networking, whether it’s with nearby businesses or others in your market space through trade shows or networking events. And the low cost makes it an easy win for any budget.
Get to Know the Neighbors
It cannot be stressed enough how valuable it can be to become friendly with other stores and establishments on your street. Being neighborly has many rewards, so drop in and introduce yourself and your business. It’s not just good practice for good business; you may even find a partnership that could help support both businesses, whether it’s in the form of mutual referrals or leveraged services.
Samples and Examples
While it might seem counter-intuitive to give your products or services away, the best way to educate your market is to “show it, not tell it.” Offering guests a chance to sample what you can offer during your grand opening is the best way to show what you have to offer while generating a lot of positive sentiment — who doesn’t love free stuff? You see this a lot with restaurant openings, because for the restaurant and it’s patrons, tasting is believing.
Offer your customers the same opportunity, and you can win them over on day one!