Once you have your store ready to open you'll need customers. By now you have spent most, if not all, of your budget getting the space ready. If you were smart and everything went as planned(it never does) then you would have money set aside for advertising in the local papers, radio,etc. But if you are like me and most others by now you have spent it all. Here are some ways to get started that don't cost much, if anything.
1. Get a blog. I blog here. I post pictures of the store often as well as new products. Nobody wants to read a blog that is all advertising so make sure you add personal stories, what you working, behind the scenes stuff and more. My blog is pretty much my open journal of my life, which also includes running a gallery.
2. Get a Facebook page. This is great for getting the local folks to know what's going on. I am planning classes for fall and my Facebook page is where I will keep a current schedule, announce open houses, sales, and events.
3. Send out a press release. Newspapers and magazines need stories to write about. Send out a disc of photos and a letter stating that you are open and what you will be selling and providing.
4. Look for local charities, teams, or clubs to support through your business. Being kind goes a long way.
5. Have classes, people love to learn new techniques. That was my number one request when I opened the doors. I now have classes scheduled to start in September.
6. Have a grand opening. This one, I unfortunately never did. I never could fit one in. I am planning a series of open houses with special events in the fall.
Good luck! I hope I have provided some insight to opening a gallery. A lot of this information can be used for starting any kind of business. Good luck in all of your business adventures.
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