Franchise Grand Openings Should Be Grand—a List of Pointers

During this edition of FranNet’s blog, we’re going to take you on an imaginary journey—one in which you’ve already contacted FranNet about franchising and made an appointment. You remember, don’t you? During your first meeting, you told us that owning a franchise was a personal dream you’d been working towards for the past decade. You had a good nest egg of finances saved up and you even knew exactly which brand suited you best. Our consultations were a breeze and within a month, you signed the paperwork to officially become your own boss.

As our imaginary (but very real) journey continues, we skip ahead a few months. It was during that time that you and your new franchise corporate team put together a site selection survey, negotiated a great lease deal on a property with excellent traffic counts and ordered all the inventory to get started. You’re ready to open your doors to business! But…before you get too carried away, let’s look at pulling off a memorable grand opening.

First things first. Grand openings can come in two stages. These are typically referred to as “soft openings” and “grand openings.” A soft open is typically reserved for close family, friends and stakeholders of the business. It’s usually a private and intimate affair meant to celebrate the future success of the establishment. The grand opening is for the general public.

Next, and we’ve talked about this before, make sure well ahead of the grand opening that you’ve joined your local Chambers of Commerce. These are the folks that support your local business community and will be there to lift up your efforts as well. In addition, they usually have a crack team of specialists who actually handle the logistics of ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Nothing gets them going like seeing another business open in their neck of the woods. They’ll also have a big hand in inviting local city and civic officials.

Here’s an important step—don’t forget the press! You should know by heart all of the local news stations and daily newspapers. Most, if not all, of their corresponding websites, have information on how to request their presence or submit your grand opening as a news tip. Responses to your invitation will vary widely based on the media market you’re in and any other news reporting obligations that day. In a perfect world, a media outlet will at least send a photographer to get the obligatory ribbon-cutting shots. To drive synergy, make sure that all your social media accounts and outreach have the grand opening listed. When the special grand opening day arrives, wear your Sunday best and get ready to be the “Host with the Most.” Shake as many hands as you can. Pass out business cards. Jump in as many photos as possible. Smile like a person who has just become his own boss.

When the grand opening concludes and you’re ready to run your day-to-day operations, make sure you take some time out in the future to conduct a decent follow-up campaign. Procure some decent thank you cards and spend the requisite time writing a few well-placed handwritten thank you notes. You’d be surprised how many people don’t go the extra mile, even after pulling off a successful grand opening exercise.

It should be noted that not all franchise concepts call for a grand opening, especially if you keep in mind the ones which don’t require a brick and mortar location. In the case of these, you may be able to get away with a lively house party.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this imaginary journey which culminated in a grand opening of your own. When you’re ready to make it a reality, come see us! We’ll even come to your ribbon-cutting. If you invite us, that is!

Let’s chat! There’s a local FranNet consultant right in your market who knows that market inside and out – knows the personality of the market – knows the competitive landscape. FranNet has a great track record of assisting individuals on their path to entrepreneurship, and one of our franchise experts would love to provide you with guidance free of charge. Sound like something you might be interested in? Get started here and find your local consultant right now!

Aug 14, 2018