You’ve been through months of planning, and have rewritten the business plan a hundred times, but at last, the funding is in place, the website is live, the business cards are printed and the time has come. You are ready to start trading. It is a feeling that is strangely similar to expecting a child – you think you are prepared, but you still feel as if you are diving in at the deep end, without the first idea what you are doing.
Don’t worry, every new business owner feels the same. The trick is to take it one day at a time – and the only place to start is at Day One.
Create a buzz
Whether yours is a bricks and mortar concern or an online business operated from home, you need your potential customers to be as excited about your first day of trading as you are. Social media is a great platform for this. Run a daily countdown to the big day, talking about what your business is going to be offering and what your customers, friends and followers can expect. The idea is to have them queueing at the door, either figuratively or literally when you open for business!
Do the final checks
You need to hit the ground running, and the last thing you need is to be wasting half of your first day dealing with things that could have been ready days in advance. Check the payment platforms are working, whether they are online or in the form of chip and pin card readers. Are you fully stocked up on essentials like stationery and print supplies? You can get all the printer toner you need at a great price online, but you need to order it so that it is with you in time for the big day!
Start with some promotions
If you’ve done your marketing, particularly on social media, there should already be a degree of anticipation, but everyone likes a bargain, so really ramp up the interest from day one with some special promotions. Be generous with those coupons, and consider linking up with a site that specialises in discounts, such as Groupon. They also have a far wider reach, and a loyal customer base, so they could really help you hit the ground running sales-wise.
Have a dry run
If yours is a customer-centric business, such as a restaurant or bar, you could have a practice start with family and friends the day before. If something is going to go wrong, it’s better to know about it in a “demo” environment, after all!
Get a good night’s sleep
The first day is going to be exhausting, both mentally and physically. The day will probably seem to go by in the blink of an eye, but you will actually put in some seriously long hours. So have an early night, try to get as much sleep as you can and get up in time to have a proper breakfast – chances are, you won’t even think about food again till late at night. Good luck!