Author: Andrew Hallinan

A grand opening is both the end result of a lot of hard work and the beginning of dream.  The first day of a business turns the many long hours of sweat, time, energy, money, and preparation into the start of new beginning (which, ironically, is going to require more of all that sweat, time, and energy).  But just how do you get through all that hard work to have a successful grand opening?  The best way to make sure everything gets done that needs to is to write it all out and prioritize.  Here\’s some help in thinking through as you write out a to-do list.

1. Licensing
Some of the hardest things to obtain in opening a new business are the required, government issued, permits, licenses, and inspections.  But first you need to know exactly what all those requirements are so a plan can be made to pass them all with flying colors.  Once you believe you have met the requirements, planning and waiting for an appointment for inspection can be almost as lengthy of a process as working to meet the requirements.  Once all the necessary tests have been passed, its equally as important to know what standards will continually need to be upheld and kept close watch on (such as public safety and health regulations).  Also be sure to know what licenses and certifications need to be out for public display.  And even if it is not a requirement to display some, consider framing and hanging them anyway as it will likely put people at ease and let guests know how high of a standard you hold your business to.

2. Design
Once the legal requirements are met, the rest of the building needs to be designed and planned.  Lighting, cooling, main walkways, and lines of sight should all be optimized for whatever fits your new business best.  Thoughts about what a customer will see first and last needs to be considered as well as figuring out the best placement of business sings, both indoors and outdoors.  The indoors needs to be easy to navigate (for both customers and workers) and the whole building, from the outside in, should flow together cohesively.  The outside lights and signs should be up and lit as soon as possible to start branding your new business and letting potential customers know when your grand opening is.

3. Goods
For new businesses dealing with non-perishable items, stocking shelves is a bit easier than for those dealing with medicines or foods.  For non-perishable items, order than as far in advance as possible (once you have a place to store them, that is), that way there will be no worrying.  If things do need to be ordered closer to the grand opening date, ask vendors to provide you access to a tracking system.  This way you will always know where those goods are  and when they can be expected.  If there is the possibility that you will not be on-site when deliveries might be made, be sure to leave clear instructions in an obvious place (most often a sign taped to the front door), a cell phone number where you can instantly be reached with more instructions, and an alternate delivery address on the chance that you cannot be reached by phone.

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