Grand Advice for Your Opening Day

Balloons…signage…and, ACTION! A grand opening can have all the hoopla of a Hollywood production – and can inspire nearly as many dreams of riches and fame. With some forethought and effort – and reliable vendor partners – you can be ready for your moment in the spotlight.

First things first – before you print those promotional flyers, you need to make sure your store is ready for the viewing, consuming public by opening day. Follow Randal’s tips when working with your vendors during the store build-out:

  • Keep the lines of communication wide open. The moment something happens that will impact a vendor’s deliverable (for example, your painter encounters a supply issue), contact all impacted vendors (carpet layers, fixtures installers, etc.) so they can work with you to alter delivery schedules or brainstorm creative solutions. For instance, Randal has warehouse partners scattered throughout the country who we can call upon to temporarily store fixtures when delivery dates get pushed back at the last minute.
  • Plan ahead and allow extra lead time. Oftentimes, franchisees wait until the last minute, or under-estimate lead times, leading to a time crunch at the end of the build-out. The better approach is to order everything early, so your vendors can be ready when your store is.
  • Rely on the experts. As tempting as it is to interfere, let your vendors do their jobs. You’ll be able to focus more heavily on hiring, training and marketing, while your corporate support team and vendor partners get your store ready for its close-up.

Once you’ve got your vendors secured and are on-track for opening day, it’s time to start planning your big bash. Remember though, a truly successful grand opening is more than just a great party! Keep your business goals in mind as you plan.

Your event should make potential customers aware of your business – even the ones who don’t show up to the grand opening! Make sure all of your event promotions clearly spell out the “who, what, when, where and why.” Using the phrase “Grand Opening!” helps your message stand out from the sea of marketing your potential customer encounters in a day.

Build buzz by touting what’s original and exciting about your store compared to others in the community. (“Astoria’s only all-organic ice cream!”) Or, create a limited-time promotion to entice customers to show up – and bring their friends! Think giveaways, hands-on demos, and the tried-but-true promise of free food and drinks.

Extend personal invites to your celebration to local press, community leaders and other local business owners, especially those who can refer customers to your business (for example, nail salons should reach out to hair salon owners). Don’t forget local social media influencers! A grand opening event is the perfect chance to forge relationships with key people in your community.

As our wise friends at Head & Shoulders used to say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So, make it a good one! Be sure there are enough people attending your event to keep it from feeling like a flop…but if you anticipate large crowds, plan for alternate parking, extra product inventory, food, beverages and promotional items. Have enough staff on hand to greet and interact with guests and enough managers to handle issues that may come up during the event. Be vigilant about training leading up to the event so everyone on staff is in lock step.

Now go out there, shake hands and smile – it’s your big day!

For more tips on successful grand openings, visit FitSmallBusiness.com.

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