Day one of a startup

Opening A Business? Keep These 3 Things Top Of Mind

There are 3 things that you need to be thinking about on day one of opening a business.  But, wait…first things first. Congratulations on getting to day one!  You have worked hard for this day.  In preparation, you wrote a business plan. You’ve thought about your differentiation. You have created a brand and identity with your new business name. Not to mention the heavy lifting of all the preparations of buying, building, hiring, training, and practicing for this big day.

Are you ready for day one of opening your own business?

Most smart new business owners would answer no to this question, but they also know that you have to get started anyway.  One can’t wait forever to get everything perfect. Even the best well-played plans will have something that may not quite go right.

The First thing to think about on day one: embrace mistakes.  

Yes, you and your staff are going to make mistakes on day one.  That is because you have to experience what it is really like to serve or sell to real customers before you and they can master it.  Customers will come up with the most off-the-wall questions that you never had yet thought of, and you may find yourself fishing for answers.  Or, someone on your staff thinks they know how to sell, or how to recommend styles, clothing, or whatever you may be selling or servicing, and forget that their opinion doesn’t matter; only the customer’s opinion is the one that counts.  These kinds of mistakes can be corrected over time, with some care, additional training, and feedback sessions at the end of each day.

But you also could get breakages or failures.  It could be that your point-of-sales system is not working the way you need it to work, or your lights go out or you discover too late that they are not in the right position.  Or you try to run a credit card and the system is just not quite working correctly.  These things could happen, and likely will happen.  Worse yet, you may not have thought about various back-up plans, not to mention training your staff in the backup plans.  So embrace these experiences as learning moments, collect your list of improvements, and then act on them over the coming days or weeks as you improve your processes and staff.

The second thing to think about on day one is to respond with kindness.  

You may be thinking what!  Why would this be one of the top 3 things to think about on day one?  The reason is this. Day one is going to be stressful, and everyone involved including you as the business owner is also stressed.

Of course you may be thinking that kindness should be directed to your staff, and yes that would be good, but actually it is the customers that you are serving that especially need and expect to experience kindness.  Your business is going to be heavily dependent on your customers to tell other customers that they had a good experience doing business at your business, and the last thing you want is for your very first customers to have a bad experience.  In other words, every customer on day one is going to tell other customers about their experience, and it propagates from there.  Don’t you want them to talk positively about your new business?  Of course, so focus and deliver kindness; starting from you to across your entire employee team.

The third thing is to remind you and your team to have fun.  

Your passion for your business got you motivated to get to this day and so you want to enjoy it.  Step back for a moment throughout your day to reflect on what you have accomplished. Savor what you see in front of you.  Talk to your customers, asking them how they are enjoying your business.  Whether you are a restaurant, quick serve, retail shop, or a specialty service, spend a few moments with some of your customers to get immediate feedback.

Embrace mistakes, be kind to your customers, and have fun on day one. You’re opening a business for goodness sake! Your own business.  It will take more than just day one to get it started.  So at the end of day pull everyone involved together to collect feedback.  Each of your team members may have had a different experience, so listen to what they have to say.

Use SWOT for feedback

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Use the SWOT
system for feedback, or something similar, in order to get everyone to think beyond just their feelings.  You need real feedback so work at getting that too.  This is how you can improve and help turn your business into a thriving enterprise for many years to come.

Thanks for reading.