July 24 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

SMEs look to open house events for business growth

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Open-house events are becoming more popular among some small businesses.

Small businesses often find that their size is an advantage when dealing with potential customers. They have the benefit of being able to inject a human touch into their service, which can frequently lead to stronger and more effective working relationships that keep clients coming back.

But some companies are even taking this a step further by inviting the public to discover where they live and work.

 

A recent report from the Guardian shows that for many small businesses, so-called “open house” events are a great opportunity to develop their credibility and form better relationships with external groups.

For example, Dee Wood tells the news provider that she has invited people into the home from which her energy-saving product company ItDoesTheJob is based as part of several open-house events. It allows her to demonstrate that the firm practices what it preaches, she says, since her energy-efficient home in east London is the perfect example of what her firm could do for its clients.

“The fact that we can do it on a Grade II-listed building shows people that they can do the same,” she says. “It’s more difficult to get that message across through a website.”

 

London will see one the biggest open-house events of its kind when Open House London kicks off in September, allowing the public inside the buildings used by major organisations such as Lloyds of London and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

But smaller firms are also taking part in the programme, which was set up to ensure the public access to buildings where entry is often restricted. As well as home-based businesses, even architects who have built their homes are choosing to show off their skills by inviting the public inside.

Monitoring numbers can be difficult in this context, and many businesses based in homes and small buildings will adopt ticketing policies, or only offer guided tours to keep some rooms off limits to visitors. Even so, for firms that are willing to put in the preparation time, open-house events can be a helpful way of building customer relationships – and even drawing in new business.

Sarah Parkin used to work as News Writer for LSBF.  Sarah is specialised in finance, technology and business news.

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