Why Should I Start My Small Business With a Big Grand Opening?

Why Should I Start My Small Business With a Big Grand Opening?

The reason is intuitive.  You really do get just one shot at a first impression.  There is a school of thought that recommends small businesses should do a “soft opening” to test operations and then do a grand opening.  That seems great on paper but it doesn’t work. Here are the two reasons why:

The practical.  It never really works out.  Once you are open, generally you never get back around to promoting your opening.  You fall quickly into the mode of day to day operations, which can be overwhelming at the beginning. You are already open, so you aren’t really in the right frame of mind or emotion to, well, open.  The public knows you are open. Your suppliers know you are open.  Your crew knows you are open.  You know you are open.  So you never really get around to a grand opening. 

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Secondly, there is the economic reason.  We study our whole grain bakeries' opening sales trends and how they change over time.  Stores that do preopening marketing and a glorious grand opening have bigger sales volumes during their opening weekends.  Stores that don’t, don’t.  Over time, stores with big openings tend to pull back a little bit and stores with light openings tend to grow.  But, the difference never gets made up.  In the stores we have studied, we have never seen a soft open store catch up to the sales volumes of the grand opening stores.  Not once.  So, soft opening stores do grow a bit but they never catch up.  Once they open low volume, they stay that way.


The answer to the question is almost absolute. We rarely see bakeries succeed that don’t have a grand opening.  To ensure success, this is just about the most important thing you can do in opening a small business.

What small business grand openings have excited you the most? Please share in the comments below.


Want to learn more about the training and support we provide new bakeries when they open? Check out this interview with Janet, our training director:


Listen to Our Bread Business Training Interview

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