Opening A Business Should Be Treated Like Fine Wine

The first impression is the most important. Why rush it?

We see it all too often. A new business opens and the customer experience is less than spectacular because the business has to open ASAP to make some money.

I recently visited a new sports bar that opened a couple months ago. It received the typical press from our local paper and it touted itself as something better, something different. Due to the fact that I am always looking for new business opportunities and I enjoy sports and beer, I thought I would stop in and check it out.

My initial impression was not a good one. Sign on the door read “We do not accept debit/credit cards. There is an ATM across the street. Management”. Are you kidding me? In today’s day and age where plastic is king, you don’t take the primary manner in which most people pay? Why? The 2% you’re being charged by banks or card issuers? You have to pay a monthly fee to keep the machine active? Here’s a free tip – Make it easy for people to give you their money!

The interior was very basic, dark, and lacked anything that would say new or exciting (even though it is a nice layout with a lot of windows). Sitting at the bar were what many would consider townies or locals (4). Other than that there were 3-4 other people just hanging out playing video poker. My disappointment continued to grow.

On the two TVs behind the bar was 1) The Weather Channel (we can look outside if we want to see what the weather is like) and 2) ABC News. I thought this was a sports bar. Your business name is XX Sports Bar after all.

As I mentioned, one of the reasons I stopped in was to meet the owner and drop off my card. Since he was not in I spoke with the bartender and the first thing that came out of her mouth was “We don’t have any money. Things are tight.” First, I appreciated her honesty (we had a nice conversation for a few minutes), but you have to be kidding me…for two reasons. First, do you really want your service personnel being so direct about the money problems a new business is experiencing? Secondly, you open a new business that has zero recognition, no built-in following, and you don’t have money for advertising? No website? No logo? Not even a FREE facebook page?

Taking the time to do it right (you may even need to hire marketing professionals), even on a limited budget, is far less expensive than opening too soon, giving customers a bad experience, and letting word-of-mouth advertising take over. Business owners love word-of-mouth advertising because it’s free and 90% say that’s what they mostly rely on, but you cannot control what others say and in this case I will be recommending that all my friends (real and virtual) go elsewhere.

I wish this business the best, but like the many that have come and gone before them, odds are they will be out-of-business within a year. I hope not, but it’s not looking good.

If you own a business or know a business that could use some help, please contact us for a free consultation.