I learned this at a very young age and has served me well in work and life. I learned that you always need to look professional for interviews, for meetings and basically at all times. I am grateful for wisdom I got from my parents,like their advice and help building a business wardrobe and first briefcase. They invested in me to give me the best chance of success in business.
As the “parent” of your business, you want to give it that same best start. Before you flip the “we are open sign” have you done everything you can? Let’s think about this for a minute, What thoughts do you have when you see dirty floors or shelves not full and merchandised? Today MORE THAN EVER, that first impression is critical. An unfavorable experience could result in negative word of mouth or even worse online reviews on social media or Yelp.
There thousands of studies that will tell you the psychology of store layouts, colors and lighting. It is all designed to make the consumer feel a certain way and act a certain way. I am sure its very scientific but it boils down to “Stay a while and spend your money!”
Before you advertise, before you invite people to walk in or click/search- be ready. Here are some basic things to do before opening. Depending on your business there are many more, this is a basic list to double check that you are ready to roll!
- Infrastructure complete- clean and manicured building inside and out. Shelves full and merchandised. Power, water, phones all working. Signs hung, inside and out. Insurance paid.
- Ready to sell- stock to sell and the means to collect payment. Cash register, apple pay, square card reader, go to the bank and get small change.Pens, paper, bags and packaging materials.
- If you are a online business-confirm hosting site can handle the massive amount of traffic you will be getting. Triple check all links that they work. Navigate in and out of your site to anticipate any issues.Does it work exactly the same on a computer, tablet and phone? For launch day have your web hosting and design team on stand by.
- Your team- does everyone know what the mission is? Does your team know the culture your new brand has and will cultivate. Every smile, every question is a chance to make a life long customer.
- Spread the word-sharing your joy with family and friends. Invite local civic leaders to stop by, ask community papers to do a feature, write a press release ( I have instructions on how to do that in previous blog), contact local media to place a grand opening schedule. Radio is great for this because the added value is tremendous. Typically they will come out and bring prizes and excitement. Sometimes community papers will promise a “feature” on your business if you commit to an advertising package. This has value because you are then seen as content.
Don’t forget that you are a walking billboard for your business. When you own a business it is a BIG part of you. Don’t let someone judge your business by how you look. Be sure to look your best. Have you been asked to speak at a school, civic organization, business networking event-have pride in your business and appearance. I went to an entrepreneur speaking event last fall. I was excited to hear about why people decided to start their own business. All were dressed casually, but one was in sweats. I had a hard time focusing on her words because all I could think of was ” what were you doing before this, that you couldn’t change?”. I took my time, money to attend and park, plus leave work early and you could even dress up a little. Get my point….
You never get a second chance to make a first impression!