So you've just opened a florist shop with the best variety of the freshest flowers in town. You spared no expense on the location, building, signage, and interior decorating. The "Grand Opening" banner is proudly draped over the massive, hand-carved, double-door entryway and you beam with pride at the result of years of hard work and struggle. So now you're arrived at your moment of glory and await the throngs that are sure to come clamoring for carnations or marching in for marigolds. What's that sound I hear? Is it the death knell for daisies? What, you forgot to allow for a marketing program to actually bring in customers? What were you thinking, or in this case, not thinking? It's simply another riches to rags story in the making. Let me clarify.
I've been advising and counseling businesses on their advertising since 1976. During that period, I've placed ads in every media imaginable and consulted to over 7000 businesses. With those credentials, I feel capable and confident in recommending the easiest way to achieve a more successful marketing program.
Many new businesses fail to plan for the way to lure in customers. Yet they will spend on fancy computer systems and marble flooring, all the while oblivious to the real requirement for a business; customers.
It takes forecasting and advance research. It begins with an ROI, or return of investment. One needs to understand what a single customer is worth and how many it will take to cover the expenses. Then, they need to address the various media available that will target their market and bring the biggest bang for the buck. Once the ROI is computed, a 2 to 3 year bankroll to fund the program should be stowed away as part of the overall business plan.
If the business person is a novice in advertising, they have a few options; (a) use a consultant, (b) hire an advertising agency, (c) use the various media reps that are more than willing to share their expertise (i.e. Yellow Pages, newspaper, direct mail) (d) check the Internet for articles like this one, or (e) buy a book or two on the subject. The key is to educate yourself on an area that few new business owners comprehend. Then, armed with the knowledge and a realistic timeframe in mind, you can implement a promotional program that will allow the business to grow and prosper. But it still takes planning and determination. Remember that it's an investment in your company and necessary if you want to stay in business and beat the 4 out of 5 failure rate. Only then can you open your doors for a true "Grand Opening."
By Jeffrey Hauser