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How to Bring in The Business in 2013, Pt. 1 of 5

Grand Openings are a great way to boost foot traffic to retail locations. Photo by Tony Cecala (Flickr Images)

In this five part series I’m going to cover a few ideas I’ve picked up from business owners across the nation. Not every one of these ideas will work for your particular situation, or be the ideal solution to kick-start your business. But I’m hopeful that they will put you in a thinking mood to examine ways to increase your bottom line.

Every Business Should Have an Annual Grand Opening

When was your worst day of business? I’m guessing your very first day of business might have been a little slow. So why should you even consider the added expense of an annual grand opening?

I moved to Bozeman about 20 years ago and there were some things I had to do after arriving here. I had to find a barber, mechanic, baker, handyman, florist, veterinarian, shoe store, clothing store, grocery store, plumber and electrician. That’s the short list.

I’m told the population of Bozeman turns over ever 7 years. People relocate, die or move up and down the income ladder.  But they all have one very important thing in common. They are all potential new customers desperately searching for the goods and services you offer.

How Do You Do It?

It’s simple and usually cost effective to have an annual grand opening. A sign, that can be reused year after year, since this will be an annual event, will most likely be your biggest expense. Contact your suppliers and see if co-op advertising is available for an event like this. Is there a possibility or industry experts to be on hand for seminars and mini-demonstrations or workshops?

Don’t spend a lot of money on freebies and food. You’ll just attract invalid customers. The purpose of the annual grand opening is to introduce your business to valid customers. All your advertising and promotional materials should contain benefits to attract your idea customer.

Why It Works

It creates a non-threatening environment for the customer. They’re not walking into a store alone and vulnerable. The increased floor traffic can sometimes lead to a feeding frenzy. As people observe people making purchases it creates a “me too” attitude.

It also allows the owner or sales people just greet and offer direction to products or answer questions about the goods and services of the business. It’s a great place to pass out coupons to those customers who show interest in the products or services.

How Long Does An Annual Grand Opening Last?

The smaller the population base the shorter the time span for your annual grand opening. It needs to be a special event, not an ongoing promotion that goes stale. In a larger population base there are more people and it will take longer to see it.

Some Final Thoughts

If Christmas were your big selling season then I would not do this before or immediately after holidays. But you can look at an annual grand opening as a way to create some interest during your slower months. If you can increase the business in a slow month by 5% that would make the year a little easier to manage.

Another thought is to capitalize on tourist traffic. Tourists have budgeted for local purchases increasing your opportunity to sell or ship items back home. Give it a shot. It might become a tradition that people will look forward to each year. Any exposure is good exposure.

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