Monday, November 1, 2010

10 steps to conduct a Grand Re-Opening

A dear friend of mine has decided to revive her business and asked for help on how to get it up and running without too much headache. Hers is a service business where she does healing through Eastern medicinal type therapies. Sometimes she travels out of town, sometimes clients go to her.

The following is the email I sent her. It's a 10-step to-do list. If your own business has made a dramatic change or you've decided to breathe new life into it (or you're making the push to go full time,) you may find this to-do list helpful.


A great way to get back in business is to create some buzz. You'll need to do some planning ahead of time to pull it off and have everything start at the same time, but it'll be worth it. Plan to have your Grand Re-Opening start with a bang and run for a month. You want people to take notice and see your name repeated in several places.

Here's your to-do list:
  1. Decide on a business name. (See #4 as you finalize this.)
  2. Get your logo and print it on letterhead and business cards. (Go to for help. Low prices and some free items.) You'll need the logo to help establish your brand. If you can color-cordinate all your paperwork and workplace decor to your logo, that will help lock in your brand with your customers. I know this sounds silly, but it works psychologically to create an anchor for your brand that your customers can identify with. When you talked about flowing water (or something like that) for your biz name and then mentioned you would need to get a fountain, that's exactly what I'm talking about.
  3. Set up your workspace, either in your home, an off-site office, or organize a professional looking travel kit if you will be making house calls. (I would suggest you have them come to you, wherever you are. If they put some effort into it they will be more likely to value what you do. If you make housecalls, there should be a surcharge. That way it's available, but they can't be lazy or cheap about it.) You need to keep your perceived value high and your workplace supports that. If you access info during your sessions, put it in plastic sheet protectors in a nice 3 ring binder with tabs instead of having a ratty bunch of papers held together at one corner.
  4. Set up a website/blog with a unique URL. Your URL is your and it's cheap = $10/year. I can help you get all of this set up and teach you how to manage it - it's really easy. Make sure your URL matches your business name and is easy to understand. If it's easy to remember, that's even better. If you do a radio interview you'll want to send people to your website. You need to be able to say your URL over the air and people instantly understand it without hyphens or funky spellings. An example: do not use your hard to spell last name. People will never find you online.
  5. Create a database of all customers present and past. Add colleagues to this list. As you get new customers add them to this list. This list is the "Golden Goose" for your business.
  6. Draft a letter (on your new letterhead) to everyone on this list, announcing your Grand Re-Opening. List the services you provide. Include reasons why now is more important than ever for people to address their personal problems that you can solve. Tell them about your special rates during your Grand Re-Opening. Include two business cards in each letter and invite them to share one of the cards with a friend.
  7. Create a pricing menu. Because what you offer is a little unfamiliar to many people, you may want to offer set prices for certain services. This will help people feel more confident to do business with you. Too many unknowns can scare people away. Having set prices for services will also make it easier to discount for promotions and gives people a more concrete idea what kind of a bargin this is for them.
  8. Offer a Grand Re-Opening special. You decide what will work with you, but keep in mind, people don't buy with percentages, they buy with dollars because dollars are more tangible than %. Offer dollars off, not percentages off. You see sales that are 30% off etc, but would you be more willing to buy a $20 item with a 30% off coupon or would you be more likely to buy a $20 item with a $6 off coupon? **At the bottom of this I've included some tips and offers to keep in mind when crafting your Grand Re-Opening special.
  9. Contact the media: local and regional newspapers, regional womens' magazine (if you have one), radio stations, tv (is there a local morning show?) and let them know you are available for interviews. Contact local clubs and schedule giving a talk or better yet give a demo. Write a brief but interesting intro to who you are and what you do that makes them want to contact you for more info. Write a press release announcing your Grand Re-Opening. Copy a lot of the info in your letter (above) but keep it fact based and not sales based so it's not discarded as blatant advertising. Newspapers always have space to fill and are often looking for something interesting to publish.
  10. Host a Grand Re-Opening open house. This is optional, but can be done on a budget if you collaborate with some joint venture partners. Is there a catering company that is just getting started and needs to get their name out there? If you have office space near any other similar wholistic providers, talk to them about sharing the expense of hosting an open house. Tell the media about the open house and mention it in your letter (#6.) Offer something free to all who attend - free consultation, free session for a child, free class to improve a specific function (dyslexia, headaches, joint movement, etc.) The free service or class can be scheduled for a later date, but give them their free ticket at this event. Whatever you give away, set a price for it so everyone knows the dollar value of what you're giving them. (Also advertise the class at full price to have paying customers there with the free customers.)
** Grand Re-Opening special: Make your special not just good but irresistable. Almost ridiculous. Look at how they advertise items on tv and copy that technique. TV product ads have advertised their prices this way for 30+ years because it works. Here's an example:

+This service is regularly $100 for a 1 hr session.

+To celebrate our Grand Re-Opening, we're offering $25 off your first session.

+Schedule now and we'll give you a second follow up session for half off. (Half is more tangible than 50%.) ~OR~ You could switch it and say you're offering the first session at half price and $25 off the follow up.

+Schedule your appointment for any time in February and we'll also give you our free guide to ... (fill in the blank)
Write up a free guide that ties in with your services or explains something that your customers always want to know more about. How about writing a booklet on any topic that supports what you will cover in their first session - maybe some at-home exercises or a step by step instruction on something, or a top ten simple things you can do to improve your wellness. Keep this book as your free gift in future promotions.

Whenever you have a chance to write another book, write it and use it in similar promotions: Grand Re-Opening, Anniversary, National Wholistic Health Month (I made that up) Summer Specials (market to vacationers) etc.

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