Creating a marketing plan just sounds like so much effort and bother that many new business owners just don’t bother to make one. They think they can keep it “all in their head…”
Agreeably this is an area of Business 101 where most people absolutely fail. A marketing plan is all about budgeting, planning and building anticipation and excitement about your business. It is all about promoting it, exciting prospective customers and having a big opening launch that introduces you to the world.
If you do not have the basics in place, such as a business launch, it is going to look to your customers and your employers like you don’t care. The lack of a launch disappoints your employees and partners and can often send the business into a downward spiral because of low morale. That low morale, in turn can translate into bad service for your customers who have less than stellar experiences with employees who simply are not enthusiasts at what they do.
Some people get by the whole matter of throwing the launch by saying they are going to have a “soft opening” instead. You are probably best to avoid the soft opening as it is a waste of time. When it comes to letting the world you know you exist you can’t be half pregnant. You are either pregnant or not.
If you are going to do a soft opening, do it for friends and family. In fact, don’t call it a soft opening at all. Call it a “dry run” and then throw a real launch that truly does announce to your customers, the neighborhood and the local media that you are a real business that has a lot to offer and celebrate on opening day.
The reason you do not want to have a soft opening with just friends and family is because even if there are aspects of your business that really suck you are going to not get honest feedback. That is because friends and family do not like to be perceived as “negative” and crush anybody’s dream.
The problem with throwing a soft launch for customers is that it can give you a bit of a bad reputation especially if they are feeling “practiced on.” If you are going to throw a launch, be sure to throw it for real. Bring your A Game to the table because a customer is not going to make excuses for you.
Basically a soft opening is a cop out. It is a term that really means “learning on the fly without a business plan!”