A big, happy crowd is what every new business owner dreams of and hopes for at their grand opening party. So they put a lot of planning into making everything just right, wanting their first day to go as smoothly as possible. But all the planning in the world still can’t guarantee a big crowd on the day-of, that takes special talent and a little bit of luck. Here are some ideas for encouraging a crowd to gather at a business’ first day.
1. Hang a “Help Wanted” Sign
Almost as soon as a business has access to their new physical location one of these should be hanging in the window or other prominent location. Particularly with the current economy, there are many, many people looking for jobs. People looking for word (or even those who know of people looking for work) will stop in, looking for more information and a job application. Even once all positions are filled, its not a bad idea to keep a sign like that in the window. Those looking for work will continue to keep an eye on a “help wanted” sign, and by default, the new business as well.
2. Be Kid and Pet Friendly
A grand opening party needs to be as welcoming as possible for all members of the family. For those who stop by on a whim or on their way to a second destination, they will likely have their kids and pets with them in the car or out on a walk. These spur-of-the-moment guests will be much more likely to stop and stay if they see an area that is safe and secure. Some good ideas are to have a barrier between cars in the parking lot and where a crowd would gather which will provide protection particularly for those under 3 feet tall. Another idea is to put out water bowls for the four-legged members of the family in obvious, convenient places. Anything to make people feel welcome and comfortable. And of course, have water and food available for all ages of the human species as well. Doing these hostess type things will help remove barriers that people may have that would prevent them from stopping by.
3. A Crowd Attracts a Crowd
This simple fact is what can make attracting a crowd so difficult. In order to have the appearance of a crowd, invite (and consider guilt-ing) as many friends, family, and neighbors into staying for as long as possible. Many will probably volunteer to help out in some way, but even if they don’t, just their very presence will help push a grand opening to success. And if they are working, be sure to take good care of them with plenty of food, water, and the occasional break and smile. Put even these extra cars to work by parking them in a location that is clearly associated with the new business but that is also a little out of the way. The “best” parking spots should still be reserved for unreached, potential customers as part of idea number 2, being hospitable.