How these entrepreneurs were able to turn botched grand openings into positives

How this entrepreneur turned a botched grand opening into a positive

Even the best laid plans can go up in smoke, but sometimes it's the little adjustments that can make all the difference, especially on days as important as a company's grand opening.

For Anne Hartnett, an entrepreneur on CNBC's reality business show "Cleveland Hustles," who had spent countless hours and nearly $20,000 transforming an abandoned warehouse and rooftop into her GroundSwell yoga studio, her grand opening hinged on one thing no one can possibly control: The weather.

On the day she expected to welcome new yoga clients to the GroundSwell unveiling that had been planned for months, it started to downpour. The only fallback was the unfinished and unsightly second floor of the abandoned warehouse that hadn't been touched — an alternative that show host Bonin Bough was concerned about.

Anne Hartnett, founder of Cleveland yoga studio GroundSwell, discusses business plans with “Cleveland Hustles” host Bonin Bough.
Source: CNBC

"She's set to open her opening class in this giant unfinished room and I'm just concerned that customers might not think they're getting enough bang for their buck, so I think she's underestimating how much this rain could set GroundSwell back," he said.

Shifting gears, Hartnett instead made the introductory class free and attempted to mop the roof, hoping the rain would hold off and that customers would be able to enjoy the skyline views that separated her outlet from competing Cleveland yoga concepts.

What was once an abandoned warehouse building is now a GroundSwell yoga studio.
Source: CNBC

"I'm disappointed by the rain, but I'm not going to let it ruin the opening," she said, admitting that neglecting a "plan B" may have been a mistake, before taking the second step of offering to cut monthly membership prices for customers who braved the rain from $185 to $100.

"First impressions are really, really important, so I'm glad that Anne is going to offer discounted prices," Bough said.

In the end it was just enough to entice customers to patron GroundSwell, who got to enjoy the rooftop after all once rain momentarily subsided, much to Hartnett's chagrin. "My goal was 20 of the 90 memberships, and we've hit that," she said, adding that combined with retail sales her yoga start-up was able to achieve $3,400 in sales on a swampy grand opening. "It's a great start for us."

Clients enjoy the GroundSwell rooftop with skyline views of Cleveland.
Source: CNBC

Fellow contestants on the show, which focuses on revitalizing the economically struggling Gordon Square neighborhood of Cleveland, similarly learned the importance of a backup plan.

Cleveland Bagel Shop owners Geoff Hardman and Dan Herbst failed to secure permits in time due to delayed construction. That left the company, which raised $100,000 from investor Alan Glazen, unable to sell bagels during its planned debut. But the duo optimistically embraced it as a learning opportunity, opting to give out bagels and food concepts for free in exchange for feedback.

Dan Herbst and Geoff Hardman, owners of Cleveland Bagel Company, make their pitch to investors in the premier episode of “Cleveland Hustles"

"Are we going to sit there and whine? No, you make do and you make the best of the situation," Hardman said.

In rolling with the setbacks and embracing adversity to achieve growth, the four businesses, which garnered investments from mentors on the show, are projected to bring about a total of 45 new jobs to Cleveland.

CNBC's "Cleveland Hustles" airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. EDT.

How to turn a vacant lot into money ... with honey
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