No matter how many times you’ve done it, there are few things more exciting than opening a new business. There is something special about the opening day. You get the feeling that anything is possible.
If you have started a business before, you know that opening day seldom goes off without a hitch or two. Things tend to take on a life of their own. Small problems get magnified. And little mishaps can feel like major disasters.
In truth, those little mishaps really can become major disasters depending on how they are handled. And while no one can fully predict every possibility, there are things you can do to make sure your grand opening goes as smoothly as possible. For the best possible start, here are a few things you need in place before the doors open for the first time:
You can open without a mariachi band, so it is no big deal if you forget to book one. But you won’t get very far if you forget to put paper in the printer. Contracts need staples and paperclips and folders and pens. Deals that are made by phone need copiers and faxes.
In other words, you need an ample stockpile of business supplies before you even attempt to complete your first transaction. Closing a sale is very much an in-the-moment type thing. The lack of a critical supplies can take you out of the moment and away from your first sale. Never mind the party supply store, set up an account with a reliable business supply store if you want to have a great start.
An Opening Strategy
When a company like Apple opens a new store, it is a major event. They have a strategy for getting the most out of every opening. You don’t have to be Apple to make a big splash in your community with the opening of your business.
Your strategy might be to revitalize a neglected section of town, or to promote ethnic diversity, or to sponsor a little league team, or… You get the idea. The possibilities are endless. Don’t just show up one day and unlock the doors. Give the community a reason to care that you are now in business. And they will join you on opening day.
The Ability to Take Card Payments
Failure to take card payments is to be penny wise and pound foolish. There are good reasons why a cash-only business is a bad idea. Chief among those reasons is that many of your prospective customers no longer carry cash at all.
Putting an ATM in the store doesn’t help. No one wants to withdraw more money than they need and incur unnecessary fees for a minor transaction. Accepting only cash is an unnecessarily alienating move.
It also looks bad. There is no better way to make your business look second-rate than to be unprepared or unwilling to take modern forms of payment. You should never put up roadblocks between you and your potential customers’ money. They want to give you money. Find a way to take it.
Don’t expect your opening day to set new records in sales and attendance. The letdown after an opening can usually be chalked up to unreasonable expectations.
Be happy with some attention from a few customers. A local paper might give you a few column inches. That’s a win. You are not a failure if you are not a major feature on the evening news at 5:00. Success does not happen all at once. It is a process of slow and steady growth. It starts with reasonable expectations.
Before you open your doors to the public, be sure to have ample office supplies, an opening strategy, the ability to take card payments, and reasonable expectations. If you want to finish strong, you have to begin with a good start.