By: Irland Lee
Having a hard time choosing business hours for your new endeavor? Well, grab that business start-up checklist, and let's get to work! Everyone in the process of starting a business goes through the perils of choosing hours of operation because let's face it, not everyone can be open 24 hours. We’re going to provide you with a few tips to help make your business advances a breeze.
TIP #1: CONSIDER WHAT YOU ARE OFFERING / WHO YOU ARE OFFERING TO
What you're choosing to sell/offer is going to be the main factor in this decision-making process.
Are you wanting to open a grocery store? Check Costco business hours or Trader Joe’s, as they’re within the same niche market.
Are you opening a fast-food place with a drive-thru? Consider checking Taco Bell business hours, or Panda Express.
Whenever you know what you’re selling, you get an idea of who your target market is. By narrowing down a target customer group, it’ll help determine the best times for operation. For example, college students have more availability in their schedules, whereas, someone that works 8-5 will be more inclined to stop in after work or on the weekends.
TIP #2: CHECK OTHER BUSINESSES IN THE AREA
Check more established businesses (especially those of the same niche) in the area to figure out their business hours. If they’re an established business, they’ve already been through this process and narrowed it down to what works best for them and the area. Do your market research and determine when the correlations lie. For example, say one business is open 7 am-6 pm and another one 8 am-10 pm. Both places are open during those 8 am-5 pm hours, so that’s a relative backbone you can work off of.
TIP #3: ACCOUNT FOR SEASONAL
Everybody knows that the holidays can be hectic. Sales increase. Travelling and traffic increases. Particularly so on the weekends. Everyone is trying to get last-minute shopping out of the way and families travel to visit each other.
In addition to the holidays, if you’re in an area that receives high tourist traffic (I.e., summer break, spring break, winter break, etc.), there are certain times of the year that might be busier than others. Extending hours during those times could prove to be useful.
TIP #4: SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT
Once you have your social media platforms, reach out to target customers in the area and conduct a poll (I.e., Instagram polls) on when they think your hours should be / when they personally would come in. This helps you to better cater to the community you’re serving (and helps to get the word out about your business in general – it’s a win-win).
TIP #5: TRIAL AND ERROR
Chances are the initial hours you have set aren’t going to work out, and that’s okay. You may have to do a test run for your hours the first few months.
Examine your sales data. Is there an hour at the end of the day where operational costs out way money coming in? You might see that your last 30 minutes or hour of being open on a weekday isn’t bringing in enough profit, cut it. If you open an hour earlier, will this allow more people to come in on their way to work? Or if these people come in on their way home from work 30 minutes before you close, consider extending an hour or so. Patterns are the best way to analytically visualize what’s working and what isn’t. You won’t know unless you try.
Now, take these tips and go grow your small business into an empire!