How do I start a grand opening for my business?

1. Create Goals for the Event, 2. Begin Planning Early, 3. Stick to the Budget, 4. Have the Right Insurance, 5. Advertise Before the Event, 6. Offer Food and Entertainment

Author: Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Opening Plan for Business Example

Karina is the owner of a new bakery, and she is about to host a grand opening event. In order to make sure the event goes smoothly and is popular with the local community, Karina creates an opening plan to prepare for the event. Her opening plan includes food and entertainment, advertising, budgeting, and insurance. She plans to hire a band to play music, get a bouncy castle for kids, and offer free macarons and other pastries from her shop to attract customers. She is sure not to spend too much money, but also to make the event worthwhile for those who visit. Thanks to her opening plan, Karina is able to plan a successful grand opening for her business.

Six Tips for Planning a Business Grand Opening Event

When a small business owner has spent months or years planning their company and is finally ready to introduce it to the world, it is time to host a grand opening event. This event should not be an afterthought, because it is critical to a business’ launch plan. This is an entrepreneur’s chance to find new customers, get exposure, and make sure that the company gets a successful start.

This article will review six of the top tips for planning a grand opening event for a new business, as well as how to get the most out of the event.

  1. Create Goals for the Event

Every part of a business’ marketing plan should include goals, so a grand opening event should not differ in this respect. Prior to planning the event, it is important to set concrete goals, such as getting the contact information of a set number of customers. Also, there should be less concrete goals, such as raising awareness of the brand.

In general, an entrepreneur’s goals should be to attract customers, build relationships, and create a unique and memorable event.

  1. Begin Planning Early

Grand opening events involve a lot of forethought, so it is important for a business owner to begin the planning process early. This way, there is time for all the many details to come together in the way they should. If a business is holding the event at a different location, then it is important to book the space as soon as one knows the date. This is because choice venues can get booked up quickly. Even if a business decides to hold the event at its home location, it is important to book entertainment and catering as soon as possible. This is especially true if the event is being held in the popular summer months.

  1. Stick to the Budget

According to FitSmallBusiness, it is wise to set aside 20% of the first year’s marketing budget for a grand opening event.

There should be enough money dedicated to advertisements so they are seen many times during the two weeks leading up to the event. That said, a business owner should not spend so much that there is no money left for the rest of the year.

Twenty percent of the marketing budget should allow a business owner to host a special event without destroying the marketing allowance for the rest of the year. Also, entertainment and food expenses can quickly add up, so it is important to create an affordable and reasonable budget.

  1. Have the Right Insurance

Small business insurance can protect a business if some kind of injury or damage occurs on the business’ property. According to the Insurance Information Institute, a small business should have the following types of insurance at the bare minimum:

  • Liability insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Business vehicle insurance
  • Workers compensation insurance

A business owner will want to make sure he or she has enough coverage prior to hosting the event, even if the company only has a few employees. Additional people on the business’ premises makes an accident more likely, so a business owner should make sure that he or she is covered in that event.

  1. Advertise Before the Event

Approximately two weeks before the grand opening, a business owner should begin advertising the event in the local community and on other platforms. Messaging and images should match the company’s brand. To reach the most people, the business owner should try promoting the grand opening on multiple platforms, such as:

Radio

Most radio stations will want a business to sign a long-term contract, but some will allow a business to advertise for a shorter period of time. It is best to contact radio stations as soon as possible to get good availability.

Direct Mail

While it can be expensive to send mail, sending an advertisement to every house in the business’ zip code is a great way to create buzz for the grand opening.

Flyers

Prior to the event, it is a good idea to create printed flyers that can be posted in the local community around the business. They can be posted on community message boards and other places where flyers may be posted. For instance, a lot of grocery stores and libraries have boards where people can post advertisements for their businesses and events.

Social Media

If a business does not have a physical location, then it would be best to focus on online advertising. Facebook offers targeted ads that are shown to individuals who meet certain demographics or are in certain zip codes. This ensures the right people see the ad for the grand opening.

Press Release

Prior to the event date, a business owner should publish a press release that offers details about the event, such as:

  • Ribbon-cutting ceremony, if applicable
  • The event’s location and time
  • Food, entertainment, and free gifts
  • Additional information about the company
  1. Offer Food and Entertainment

To have a successful grand opening, it is important to give the local community a reason to come. Giving out free food is a great idea because many people will go out of their way for free food. If a business owner is opening a restaurant or café, then it would be a good idea to offer items from the menu so that attendees can taste the cuisine. Also, a business owner can order food from a local restaurant or save money by grilling burgers and hotdogs.

It will also be important to have some kind of entertainment for the event. The type of entertainment will partially depend on the makeup of one’s audience. If it is an adult-only event, then perhaps wine-tasting and a band is appropriate. If it is a family-friendly event, then it may make sense to have bounce castles, balloon animals, and face painting.

Sometimes, a business may need to hire a larger range of entertainment for both adults and children.

To make sure that the grand opening is a positive experience for attendees, it may be a good idea to give away free promotional products, including t-shirts, keychains, or water bottles. If a small business can afford to give away free or discounted services or products, this is a great way to attract future customers.

Conclusion

Even if a small business does not have a large budget to work with, it can still host a successful grand opening. The best events are those that focus on building relationships with the local community and show potential customers a great time. Make sure that all employees are friendly and identifiable (perhaps wearing matching shirts or tags). A business owner should also be sure to remember to follow up with guests after the event to turn them into loyal patrons.

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