Grand openings are a big deal. You have to build excitement, drum up interest, make sure all the little details are taken care of so it goes smoothly and then make a big splash once your doors open.
Getting it right can give your franchise business the head start it needs to pick up momentum and make a favourable impression on the community. Many people like to try new businesses simply for the “new” aspect, but it’s keeping them coming back after the novelty of the newness has worn off that really counts.
Your franchisor will have a process they follow to open new franchise locations with a bang, but in case it’s left up to you, follow these steps to have a truly memorable franchise grand opening:
Set a Date and Build Excitement
Knowing the exact date you’re going to open will help you with your pre-opening advertising. You’ll be able to run ads that specify the date and time that you’ll be open and build anticipation for the grand opening.
You can start running ads even before you know the exact date, though. “Opening soon” or “Coming soon” ads will start the process of building excitement weeks and months in advance even before you have a grand opening date selected.
Ads aren’t the only thing you can use to build excitement. As soon as you know the location of your business, you can put up a sign on the building or on the vacant lot letting people know what will be there eventually.
For home based businesses that don’t have a separate business location, concentrate on building excitement on social media. You can also do a direct mail campaign and posters or flyers.
Being a new business will give you some novelty that you can parlay into revenue, especially if your franchise is with a well-known brand. But, regardless of how well-known your brand is, you should also offer some promotions to entice people into your shop or entice them into contacting you somehow.
Discounts, two-for-one deals, and any other type of usual sale that you might have will be a little extra incentive for people to come and check out the new place. You might give something away for free to the first 500 people through the door or some other promotion like that. For home-based businesses, offer these same discounts and try anything to get people to at least come and say hi. (But, clear it with your franchisor first.)
Have a Soft Opening
A soft opening is when you open your franchise without any promotion before the big grand opening celebration. The point of a soft opening is to serve the few customers who just happen to notice that you’re open and come in so that you can work out any kinks in the system.
Since you don’t promote a soft opening, you don’t have to expect big crowds during the week or so that you are open before your grand opening. This will give you and your employees time to get used to everything before you have the (hopefully) big crowd for your official opening.
For home-based businesses, you can still try to have a soft opening by taking on clients who happen to find you before you officially open.
Make sure everyone is trained, all the equipment is working and everything else is in order. Your soft opening is your chance to fix the mistakes that are bound to happen before you’re really in the spotlight.
If you’re a sports fan, think of a soft opening like the pre-season that is played before the actual season starts so teams can get players ready for regular season games.
A grand opening should be just that: Grand. Make a big deal out of it. You’re opening a new business and the community is getting another option for their patronage, which helps the local economy, so it’s cause for a celebration. Try to have a fun and festive atmosphere during your grand opening.
Invite your local news organizations who often like to cover new business openings (if you’re opening it in a big city, often there will be smaller neighbourhood papers and radio stations that will cover this type of thing).
Have some raffles, put up some balloons if it’s appropriate for the type of business you run and invite some local politicians to come and give some (short) speeches. They like that sorta thing and they’ll bring their own photographers along to put it on their own websites and newsletters, further spreading the message that you’re open for business.
Obviously, this is a little more difficult to do with a home-based business, but you can still make people aware that you’re open through your advertising, social media and through sponsorships in community events like having a parade float or sponsoring a children’s sports team. You want people to know that you’re a part of the community now.
If you are ready to try franchising so you can put on a big franchise grand opening, FranNet can help. Sign up for a free FranNet franchise search and consultation today.