Eight rules for opening a new location successfully, according to Bancography, a geographic market planning company:
[the rules are theirs, the commentary is mine]
1. Hire and staff ahead of time
Get people out in the market networking and building awareness. This is not the time to get cheap with your personnel budget. If you want these folks to be a team, start early.
2. Measure initial sales in smaller increments
Catch problems early by monitoring activity daily and sales weekly
3. Continuously reinforce sales training
Or as another wise person said, begin with the end in mind. Start the way you plan to finish. This is really important if the staff are all new to the organization -- but better yet, move experienced people into this market if possible.
4. Follow up marketing for at least a year
This may be the biggest event in your life, but if you want the community to know you are there, you need to get repeat messaging out after the big opening splash.
5. Direct market to the business community
Even if you're targeting retail sales exclusively, don't forget that businesses have staff. They don't have to live in the area to be your customer. They do have to know you are there.
6. Don't forget low-tech tactics
Not enough traffic? Get out and meet some people. Knock on doors, visit schools, barbecue hot dogs every Friday if you need to. But don't sit in there and wait for the direct mail campaign to work.
7. Find peer branch advisors
Put local staff in touch with stores in similar markets. Encourage them to talk on a regular basis, do some visiting, share ideas. This is particularly true when it's a new concept and there are still lots of bugs to work out.
8. Promote at other branches and touchpoints
Don't lose loyal customers who want a more convenient location. Plus what is better news than that a business is growing? Tell people you are expanding. Another good way to get some word of mouth started.
Full newsletter is available for download at Bancography's web site