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Start A New Business Off Slow Or Take Off At Full Speed?

Apr 18, 2008
When a new business opens its doors, the owner has two choices. Either they can take it slow, one step at a time or they can open their doors with a full-bore effort to get it up and running as fast as possible. There are advantages and disadvantages of both methods and the type of business being started will play a crucial role in deciding which direction to take.

Since business revolve around either offering products or services, the speed at which it takes off will dictate its future growth. On the one hand, retailers tend to open the doors for the first time and base their initial public acceptance on the amount of sales achieved in the first week of business. A few may have what is termed a soft opening, being open for business without announcing it to gauge customer reaction to their wares as well as to acclimate their employees to replenish merchandise on the shelf.

The downside to a gradual opening, which may last up to two weeks, is the expenses of being open, such as utilities and payroll are going to be the same. There will be a lot of expense without the sales and profit to offset the costs. On the other hand, it gives the employees an opportunity to insure they know their jobs and what it will take to prep the store for business the following day. It can also serve to make sure that all systems are operating properly and offer the chance to work out any bugs that could be a hindrance once they announce their grand opening.

In a service industry, new business may come in faster than expected, causing services to be rendered slower than many customers may expect, giving the business a reputation of being slow to respond from day one. Staffing is a major concern for service-related businesses, especially if they have not properly anticipated customer demand. While this should have been considered during the writing of the business plan, if it was overlooked the business may end up either being short staffed or over staffed, adding unnecessarily to expenses. They may also be forced to trim their work force to meet customer demand.

The decision to start slow should be part of the pre-opening plan in the business plan written long before a date is established to announce the new business. Having it in the plan can also allow the owner to anticipate when they may start earning money, which will be a prime concern to any investors of the business. Failing to earn money when expected or promised can be a disaster to any new business endeavor.

Advertising choice will also have to be considered when deciding to open slow to work out the kinks in the new business or going ahead at full speed. Timing of the ads hitting the customer market will be crucial to giving customers time before the doors open, but if too late, they may not need the products or services at the time the business opens. If too soon, they may forget about the business on the day of its grand opening.
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