Opening a business is an adventurous process. After many years of planning and preparing, you finally find yourself taking care of the grand opening event. This is your chance to invite new customers to your establishment, show off your accomplishments and achievements and start building reputation and relationships with local media and people.
In order to succeed, you need to start in advance and follow these simple tips and ideas for preparing a successful grand opening.
Preparing for Your Grand Opening with Solid Ideas
Step 1. Budgeting and Planning For the Event
Budgeting for an event in advance is essential because it keeps you from getting overexcited and spending everything you have. Some entrepreneurs prefer to plan for the grand opening first and then set a budget but it is better if you define your budget and then start planning. This way if you want to add something new, you can quickly decide whether or not it fits into the budget.
Once you set the budget, plan the events. Set times when you are opening doors, when entertainment will start and when everything will end. Sticking to a defined plan helps run the whole event smoothly.
Remember to allow some flexibility. Something often goes wrong, guests or media can show up late so while you plan the event in advance make sure to have alternatives and stay flexible. It is better to have an outline of what is expected to happen on the grand opening day to point you towards activities that must be done. The minute-to-minute plan can be developed later when the main to do things are crossed off the list.
Step 2. Schedule Everything Smartly
One of the most important things is to plan the date of the grand opening. Nothing will lead to a bigger disappointment than a conflict with a major holiday, local event or even bad weather. While you cannot predict the weather far in advance, it is really important to avoid big holidays.
Travel days that happen before holidays, and other events that are celebrated annually, are easily predicted. While sometimes you can benefit from such events, it is better to schedule the grand opening so that you are the only important event in the town.
Step 3. Have All the Permits and Licenses in Check
It goes without saying that the business license should be in check, but it is never the only thing you need. For example, you may need a permit for the grand opening, depending on the noise levels, crowd size, the time of the event, aesthetic considerations and so on. Oftentimes, figuring out what license you need is frustrating, so it is better to get in touch with experts of Business Licenses who can help you with that. Remember that you should also add all the licenses and permits into the budget.
Step 4. Keep Media Involved
Using media channels is a great way to get information out. For example, you can offer contests and deals on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Getting the audience involved and offering them something interesting before the opening will stir up their interest. Don’t forget to use hashtags to make it easier for the audience to find your business.
Step 5. Flyers and Coupons
There is nothing wrong with adding this old-fashioned way of getting the information spread across the city about the big event to your budget. Send out a flyer announcing the time and date of the grand opening to the customers you want to reach.
You can not only design print postcards and send them to potential customers; you can also analyze campaign results with PostcardMania. With their tools, you will get marketing advice to help you reach the widest audience and attract more customers to your grand opening. You may also want it to be included in the local newspaper to reach out the bigger group.
Coupons are a great way to attract more potential customers to your event. Partner with LocalSaver and spread the news about your coupons; this is a win-win situation for you and for your guests.
Step 6. Signs, Banners, Postcards and Brochures
Huge banners and signs are perfect options for affordable advertising that may be used every time you plan for an event. Banners are pretty durable and you can design a sign that will serve you for a long term (for example, your logo and brand name without a date and time of an event). Many entrepreneurs also send colorful postcards and brochures to spice up the appetite of their guests. You can create your own design and print all your brochures and postcards on quality paper at PsPrint; you will also get help and guidance if you feel a little bit lost with that. This way, you will budget for signs once and for all.
Likewise, metal and plastic sculptures and window decals suit well for permanent signage options that can work well for occasional purposes as well as long term needs.
Step 7. Traditional Media
In addition to social media and flyers, you should get the traditional media involved. For example, you can invite a reviewer to the grand opening. Alerting the news station will be free advertisement when they tell others about the event. Having an employee to handle communications and public relations will also help. This person can take care of press releases, media outlets and become the face of your business.
Make sure to appear on the radio. The best way is to ask to go on air for an interview and talk about your business, values and the event. Another great idea is to invite a celebrity or a politician to the opening. The publicity will be beneficial for both of you, so celebrities often agree to make an appearance, cut ribbons, talk to fans and get to know your business.
The successful grand opening makes a name for any business early and continues to bring benefits over many years as customers return to you. These customers will spread news to their family and friends and share on social media. Showing loyalty to the customers from the very beginning will help your business prosper.
Step 8. Prepare Food and Catering
If there is something of the grand opening that always attracts many people it would be food and drinks. Many grand openings have refreshments and snacks. Here, there are two options: you can prepare everything yourself or order something from a local restaurant. In many cases taking care of food yourself is not only cheaper but also feasible. Negotiating prices with local food services, having employees help you and buying bulk food can help you cut costs and get quality snacks.
Catering will automatically remove a lot of details and nerves when it comes to making sure that your guests enjoy the evening to the fullest. With the help of professionals (even though it costs a lot and you should add this to your budget plan) comes the amazing food and upscale service which is always good for the grand opening.
For many owners, it comes down to the price of decorations that they need for an event. If the opening is on a very tight budget, choose Wayfair Supply to get everything you need. You can choose from a wide selection of products to fit the style of your business and have it delivered as soon as possible. However, if the food is one of the main events and you have a formal opening then catering is the best option.
Of course, none applies if you are opening a restaurant. If you a restaurant owner it is better to sell food at a discount or include promotional offers to keep people interested. Because who want to come to a special event to a restaurant and pay the same price for the food that they would do on any other day?
Step 9. Live Entertainment
Live entertainment is a popular activity to have during the grand opening. This can easily become a huge hit and attract a lot of people if you plan everything in advance. On the other side, live entertainment can cost you quite a lot. For example, you may have to take care of equipment and other costs for performers, fees for the live entertainment, noise ordinances, space requirements and so on. The cost of live entertainment should be outweighed by a greater number of visitors or benefits in the long-term.
You can ask business owners who have already had live entertainment about their experiences, what kind of benefits they got and if the cost was worth it. If live entertainment takes a lot of your budget it is better to leave it out of your plan.
Step 10. Think About Inviting the Right People
You want your grand opening to be interesting, loud and big so that everyone from your target group will attend. A good way to ensure that potential customers are interested is to invite the right people. This can be the city council members, the mayor and the press.
You can also invite neighboring businesses, ask your employees to come (and bring a family member with them), and invite those who helped you plan the event, your family and friends. You should also send proper invitations with colorful pictures and engaging message to people. You can even design these invitations by your own. Just print them at local sign shops or ask online companies to help you design invitations.
Of course, inviting the right guests and VIP is important but you should also work backward from the target group. For example, your ultimate goal is to get loyal customers and spread information about your business. Therefore, if you are opening a male’s sporting good boutique, the best person to invite is the well-known male athlete with a good reputation. Why? Because your target group knows who he is, they know about his career, they trust him and have similar interests. Thus, they will shop in the store where the celebrity shops.
However, sometimes the perfect celebrity just doesn’t exist or you cannot spend that much money to get one person to your event. What you can do is using a family angle to reach the target group. For example, parents love buying things for their kids and will come with their friends and their kids to your grand opening. Just offer something beneficial for children and make sure the little ones won’t get bored!
Step 11. Questions to Ask Yourself
Of course, there are many things to consider when planning for the grand opening. However, there are the main questions that you should always ask yourself:
- Do you have an employee who will take care of your guests?
- Do your visitors know the main idea of the event, what entertainment, food and drinks you serve?
- Will your guests come at once, or will they come in groups?
- Do you have small activities that your guests can enjoy during the event?
- Do you have gifts, coupons or discounts for your guests? (this can be gift bags, sale coupons and so on)
- Do you collect emails of your guests?
- How can you reach them after the event?
You should always hope for the best but prepare for the worst, so think what could possibly go wrong and plan how to fix everything quickly. For example, you may need more parking slots, security, bathroom and so on.
Step 12. Generate Leads during the Event
Every entrepreneur knows that the grand opening is the best event to generate leads early. If you plan everything carefully then you can use this event to generate new customers. For example, you can organize a giveaway that requires liking your page on Facebook to ensure future engagement. Another simple way of generating leads is customer’s willingness to give their email addresses. You can later use these emails for future marketing efforts. For example, a coupon for 5% off for a purchase within two weeks can motivate customers to return to your store in the near future.
There are so many ways to generate leads and improve your online marketing efforts! You should keep in mind that your guests will not only dislike old-fashioned aggressive marketing tactics at the event but may choose to avoid your business in the future if the grand opening is more about money than about people and their needs. Take care of planning to find the balance between generating leads and providing the quality experience to your guests, and your business will prosper in the long-term.
Step 13. After the Grand Opening
What you do after the event is quite important because it will remind your guests that you care about them. Start by sending the thank you emails or messages to people who agreed to give you their emails and Facebook information.
Go to social media, post pictures of the event and comment on posts of those who shared the information about the event. Say thank you to them, this way you will show your gratefulness. But most importantly, you should get creative, plan everything in advance and know your target audience. Your business shouldn’t be for everyone – just for those people who are interested in your products or services.
Hope you’ve enjoyed our grand opening ideas! Share your feedback in the comments!