I have long been an avid reader of small business books and entrepreneurial autobiographies. I love to learn from others. I have enjoyed many business mentors over the years, regularly read business magazines and am a lover of success stories – especially when told honestly. One of the most poignant articles was about the importance of the first 100 days of a new business; that in that period of time you can make it, or indeed cause irreparable damage. I agree and have thought about this many times during the planning stages of our new venture.
So here I am, writing this a week before the first official opening of Bitton Oatley. Sixteen years in the making, this is the new business I have been craving. It’s the perfect time to reflect on how I am going to make my first 100 days work:
- Make sure we are ready. Every department and every aspect of the new site will be ready when we open the doors. Customers will experience the Bitton way in full from the first day.
- Service is key. We will have a new team on the floor and in the kitchen so we are going back to the old school ways of training. We will hold orientation to ensure all employees know our expectations as a business and a brand.
- Customer experience. From the moment our new customers walk through the door we will ensure they become ‘raving fans’. From the first coffee, through to the food and the service, we will create that wow factor.
- Keep publicity to a minimum. We know there will be teething problems. We will go slow with the PR until they are ironed out. It is exactly at this time that the media can be your enemy.
- Connect with the Community. We will employ local workers, connect with local businesses, give back to local charities and get involved with community events and festivals.
- Work closely with suppliers. We will continue to grow our valuable relationships with suppliers by making them understand that with our growth, they too enjoy growth.
- Marketing and Communication. From the very beginning we will regularly communicate with our new customers. We will create a local database and listen to what our customer wants.
- Be personally ready. What will working across two businesses mean logistically? I will work on my day to day time management, work life balance and how I am going to fit everything in. I don’t want to give up on the things I love and need such as regular exercise and family time.
- And finally … remember who we are. We are entering a new market and of course with that comes doubt. What if they don’t understand French food? What if we are deemed too expensive? What if they don’t get my jokes? I will try to remember to stick to who we are what we do best.
So here we go, kicking off our first 100 days. I look forward to checking back in with you to see if what we put in place actually gives us the best possible start. Wish us luck and come and see us!