If you’ve recently hatched the perfect new business idea, and are looking to launch it in a new city, small town or other community – there are a lot of things to consider. While your product, business model, and location may all be first rate; that doesn’t mean you’ve got all of your bases covered. Do you know what it means to open a business in this unique community, and what’s expected of you? Do you know the culture of business, and how you should communicate with prospective customers? Have you prepared a quality marketing launch? Take a look at this shortlist of some of the best tips for launching a small business in a new community.
Community Culture: Your New Business’s Role
Owning a business in a community is more than just selling to the people there – it’s acting as a steward for a space that represents the town and its unique community culture. If you ignore this fact, you can risk offending customers and get a bad reputation in your new business community. It’s a good idea to do some minor research prior to your actual launch date to understand what’s expected of you. Read newspapers about holiday events, and see what other businesses have typically done. You’ll find that you can impress new customers immensely by already know their unique customs, and having them at the ready. Why not understand the culture and set your business up for the most success?
Spending Habits: Not the Same Everywhere
Even if you’ve done enough research to know that your product will sell well in a given area – that doesn’t mean your setup to optimize and maximize your sales; based on your new communities unique spending habits. Take some time to review records and talk with non-competing businesses about how and when people spend. For example, if you’ve moved from an upscale neighborhood with lots of young people, they may be liable to buy from you later into the evenings. Your new neighborhood may be more family oriented, where you can expect to make the vast majorities of sales during the daytime hours. These kinds of things will determine your business hours and schedule, and while you’d probably figure them out on your own eventually – you’ll lose money during that time period for sure.
Marketing Plan: Execute a Professional Launch
The last major piece of the puzzle in launching your business in a brand new community that’s never heard of you, is going to be a highly strategized marketing launch. Some word of mouth will help you when you first open your doors and people see you on the street – but you need to be one step ahead of that and make sure they’re looking forward to your opening from all they’ve heard already. Consider doing some social media advertising. This can be affordable, and highly targeted – you can also include some free coupons and promotions in the banner, or in-post style ads.
Direct mail is another classically effective way to build buzz around your new business. Consider launching one of the USPS’s “Every Door Direct Mail” campaigns where you can blanket entire zip codes with your marketing messages for a greatly discounted rate. Great direct mail products include custom postcards, brochures, direct mailers and even personalized business cards. Consider gluing or “tipping on” a business card or plastic gift card to any of your existing direct mail print products to add engagement to the piece. One thing for sure: direct mail gets viewed – you can’t sort it to a SPAM folder, and you have to at least look at it before doing anything else.
With all of the time, investment, blood, sweat, and tears that go into launching your dream small business in your dream location – you might as well do the research to make sure it will be successful. It’s been a hard road so far with everything you’ve already done, but don’t get lazy now. Take the steps to really research the unique culture and business habits of your new community – it will pay off faster than you think!