Hooray! You did it! Your dreams of starting a business have come to fruition! You’ve done all the dirty work and now you’re ready to open the doors to your adoring public! Whoop whoop!
But now the reality sets in. What if you open and no one comes? What if all that hard work was for nothing?
I can’t guarantee that your business will be a success (well, maybe if you work with me), but I can give you some tools to help your opening day (whether it is in a storefront or online) go off without a hitch.
- Get it together
- Alert the (social) media
- Pay up
- Host an event
- Strategize sales
- Keep the momentum
Get it Together
Before you open, you need to make sure you have everything together—that includes licenses, permits, staff, and even your story.
“Your story” should include the main talking points of your business:
- What do you do/sell?
- What makes you unique?
- What problem or “pain point” are you solving?
- Who are your customers?
- What is your culture and brand?
- Why did you start this business?
Once you know your story, you will feel more and more comfortable talking about it to everyone. Answering the question, “What do you do?” should be simple and instant.
What’s more, put together a press release and send it to anyone and everyone who might be the slightest bit interested in your business. Contact the press, especially local newspapers, magazines, and radio, and see if they want to cover the details of your opening.
Seek partners within the community and raise awareness through their respective clientele.
Alert the (Social) Media
How do you advertise on social media if your business doesn’t exist yet? Well, first of all, it DOES exist! Just because your doors aren’t open, doesn’t mean the business isn’t operating. You had to get that paperwork going long before your first customer, and your social media presence should be the same.
Social media channels are a great way to build buzz and get your name out there (with and without paid advertising). Use social media, both business and personal, to spread the word about what you do, when you open, and how your customers can get involved now. This is also a great way to connect with other local businesses.
Not sure which social media avenue to take? Check out my article “How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business.”
Your Social Media Mini Checklist:
- Set up your social media (if you haven’t already)
- Connect your social media (if possible) to make posting faster and easier
- Post at least a few times a week, if not every day leading up to your opening
- Looking for posting inspiration? Try sharing renovation pics, what inspired you, staff bios, location ambiance, retail snapshots, and any press coverage you’ve received
- Get creative with campaigns, including special giveaways, contests, and hashtag marketing, etc.
I absolutely LOVE organic, free advertising, but sometimes it pays to pay someone. No matter how limited, advertising should always be a part of your budget, especially when you are just starting out. How can you expect to get new clients and make any money if no one knows you exist?
- Create a marketing and advertising strategy for your business
- Research your competition and determine what types of advertising work best for your industry
- Set up a Google AdWords campaign
- Make sure your social media settings are business focused
- Invest in an effective website
Need some ideas on how to market? Download my free list of 150 Ways to Market Your Business.
Host an Event
Nothing builds excitement like an event and opening a new business creates limitless opportunities to host one (or many). I am a firm believer in hosting multiple opening events, as you want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to interact with you/your business. Bonus: events get people talking and showing up…including the media. And depending on your business, you can get really creative with ways to attract new customers.
- Hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony or blessing
- Plan a small event or soft opening around your ribbon-cutting ceremony or at a completely different time
- Invite local businesses, especially your neighbors and complementing industries (for example: if you are a Pilates studio, consider inviting the local spas, nutritionists, health food stores, smoothie bars, even the CrossFit down the street)
- Create a VIP event for any clients you have already connected with through marketing and advertising
- Don’t forget about virtual events, too!
And don’t forget to take lots of pictures so you have material for your social media posts and press releases!
Once you have an event in the works, you definitely need to sit down and strategize your sales, especially your opening day sales. Everyone loves a good deal, and your opening day should showcase your best offerings and special promotions.
Although discounted rates are a great enticement, you can also offer opening day/week promotions that have nothing to do with actual reduced rates. If you are a bar, maybe you host a bartender cocktail creation showdown. Maybe you offer a swag bag of logo wear to your first 100 customers. Or perhaps the opening week of your clothing boutique offers in-store clothing stylist consultations. Creativity is key!
- Create products or services that are just for opening week
- Give goodie/swag bags away
- Do an in-store contest or giveaway (link it to your social media contests)
- Offer special discounts and promotions to boost sales and retention (but don’t offer too many or your customers will get overwhelmed and often choose nothing)
Once you have decided on your strategy, plan to continue it past the actual opening date. Not everyone will come out for a big event, so you want to make sure you continue to talk up your deals and all the fun you had at the opening for at least a week after.
Keep the Momentum
You did it! You successfully completed your very first day in business! Congratulations!
Now you need to keep the momentum going by keeping your customers happy, engaged, and excited!
- Feature customer testimonials on your website and social media
- Respond to every comment or review (good or bad) immediately with absolute professionalism, especially the ones visible online
- Build a customer email list and send out information about events, sales, promotions, or contests, etc
- Send out email surveys and ask for referrals
- Continue posting on social media regularly
- Take pictures of everything and make a separate folder in your phone for company photos just in case you need them
- Get creative and start thinking about future promotions, improvement, and collaborations to keep your customers as excited as you
Do you have a business? What do you consider the most important part of opening day? How did you celebrate your opening? Was it a success?
Let us know! Share this article with your business-minded Facebook friends! (https://www.facebook.com/AFConsultingTeam)
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