How to Plan a Grand Opening Event | Fora Financial Blog
How to Plan a Grand Opening Event for Your Business
September 06, 2018

How to Plan a Grand Opening Event for Your Business

After months or even years of planning, you’re finally ready to introduce your small business to the world. A grand opening event is an important aspect of your launch plan and shouldn’t be an afterthought. This is your chance to gain customers, gain exposure, and ensure that your business starts off successfully.

In this post, we’ll explain how to plan a grand opening event for your business and get the most out of the occasion.

6 Tips for Planning a Grand Opening Event

1. Set Goals for the Event

Every aspect of your marketing should include goals, so your grand opening event shouldn’t be an exception. Before planning an event, set tangible goals, like getting contact information from a certain number of potential customers, and intangible goals, like raising brand awareness. Overall, your goals should be based around attracting a customer base, building relationships, and creating a memorable experience, so make decisions accordingly.

2. Start Planning Early

Grand opening events should be planned as early as possible, because it takes time for all the details to come together. If you’re holding it at an outside location, you’ll want to book as soon as you know the date because venues can fill up quickly. Even if you’re hosting at your home location you’ll want to book your catering and entertainment early, especially if your event is during the summer.

3. Stick to a Budget

FitSmallBusiness recommends setting aside 20 percent of your first year’s marketing budget for your grand opening event. You’ll want enough money for your advertisements to be seen multiple times during the two weeks before the event, but at the same time, you don’t want to spend so much that you don’t have money to advertise for the rest of the year. By allotting 20 percent of your marketing budget, you should have enough to host a great event without breaking the bank. Additionally, food and entertainment costs can add up quickly, so it’s important to create a budget that you can reasonably afford.

4. Make Sure You Have the Right Insurance

Small business insurance is designed to protect your business in the event an injury or other type of damage occurs on your business’s property. The Insurance Information Institute suggests all businesses have liability insurance, property insurance, business vehicle insurance, and workers compensation insurance at a minimum. Even if your company only has a few employees, you’ll still want to ensure you have proper coverage before your event. Extra people on your business’s property increases the chances for an accident to happen, and if it does, you’ll want to have your bases covered.

5. Advertise Before the Event

Around two weeks before your event, you should start advertising in your community and through other platforms. All your messaging and graphics should be consistent with your brand, but you should try to promote your event on multiple platforms, such as:

Radio: While most radio stations make you sign long-term contracts, some radio stations may allow you to showcase your business for a couple weeks. Start contacting to radio stations early to get the best availability.

Direct Mail: Although distributing direct mail can be expensive, sending a mail piece to every home in your business’s zip code can be an effective way to ensure that your community is aware of your grand opening event.

Flyers: Before your event, create printed flyers that you can post in your business’s area. Then, post them on community boards and other places where flyers can be placed. For example, many local grocery stores or libraries have boards where people can post ads for their businesses and events.

Social Media: If your business doesn’t have a physical storefront, you should focus your efforts on online advertising. Facebook targeted ads are shown to people in certain demographics or zip codes, so you can guarantee that the right audience is seeing your ad.

6. Provide Entertainment and Food

In order to host a successful event, you must give people a reason to attend. Free food is the best place to start, because most people will go out of their way for a free meal. If you’re opening a restaurant, showcase some of the items from your menu. Otherwise, cater food from a local restaurant or save money by grilling hot dogs and hamburgers.

You’ll also want to feature some form of entertainment at your event. Depending on your audience, you’ll need to determine if you need entertainment solely for adults (think wine-tasting and a fun band), or family-friendly options like bounce houses, face painting, and balloon animals. In some cases, you might need a wider range of entertainment for both adults and families, so consider your ideal customers and plan accordingly.

Conclusion: Hosting a Grand Opening Event Will Help Grow Your New Business

Even if you don’t have a large budget, you can still host a successful grand opening event. The best events focus on building relationships and showing potential customers a good time. Make sure all your employees are friendly and recognizable (they can wear matching shirts or lanyards). Finally, be sure to follow up with your guests after the event, so you convert them into loyal customers.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].