How to plan your Grand Opening so it's a success

Starting a business is a challenging yet rewarding experience. You’ve put all this time, effort, and money into making your dreams come true, so when it comes to planning your grand opening, you really want to be sure you do it right!

So where do you start? First, you will need to create an awareness of your business and generate a buzz. Getting people excited and curious about your business is a great way to spread the word. The best way to accomplish this is through marketing. Below are some ideas to help you market your business to be sure your grand opening is a huge success!

Marketing and advertising your grand opening

  1. Outdoor advertising. Think banners, flags, inflatables, balloons, etc. When you dress up the exterior of your business with eye catching materials you’ll be sure to draw the attention of potential customers directly to your storefront. Invest in an inflatable to put on your roof, customize a banner or a flag to hang up, or even decorate with some unique balloon art! Big AZ Tents & Events can match you with the perfect option for your business.
  2. Postcards and flyers. Utilize your contacts and send out some postcards to all current and potential customers. You can do this through regular mail or even through email! Find a website that lets you create custom postcards to send out with the grand opening information, along with some incentives (giveaways, raffle tickets, discounts, etc.). You can also hang flyers around town or ask other local businesses if they would consider hanging your flyers in exchange for helping advertise for them as well!
  3. Social media. This can be your best friend when it comes to advertising. Create accounts on every social media platform for your business, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Not only is this a great way to advertise your grand opening, but it is also a great way to share more information about your business and any sales, special events, or coupons you are offering. Create a Facebook page and then create an event specifically for your grand opening. People searching for things to do around the valley will see it on the main event page and can RSVP, letting you know how many people are interesting in attending. It is also a good idea to create a brand hashtag and encourage your customers to use it during and after the event so their friends and family will see what an awesome business you have!
  4. Free samples. If this applies to your business, consider handing out free samples and letting people know you’ll be having a grand opening soon. You could also do goody bags with samples of your products along with a coupon for their next purchase at your grand opening.
  5. Merchandise. Depending on your business you may want to invest in some shirts, hats, tote bags, pens, etc. Have them available for purchase or consider handing them out either before or during your event. Everyone loves free stuff!
  6. Giveaways/Raffles. One of the best ways to get people to attend your grand opening is to offer some sort of an incentive. Hand out raffle tickets, do a giveaway for free products, or offer a spin the wheel for discounts. Make sure you mention this on your flyers and on social media pages!
  7. Radio advertising. The cost of advertising on the radio varies a lot based off of the time of day, the size of the audience you’re trying to reach, and the size of your local market. Consider looking into it, as 91% of Americans listen to the radio every week!

Once you have all the marketing handled, you will need to start planning the actual event. It may seem overwhelming at first, but staying organized and creating a game plan will help you pull it off more easily. Below are some ideas to help you get started and prevent you from forgetting anything.

Event logistics and reservations

  1. Goals and budget. Creating specific goals and sticking to a budget will help you stay on track without overspending. Figure out your main goals you want to accomplish by throwing this grand opening and decide how much money you want to invest in it. On average, businesses dedicate around 20% of their first years marketing budget to their grand opening. You want to be sure you don’t spend too much, as this will affect your marketing budget for the rest of the year.
  2. Pick a date. Be sure that your business has been open for a few weeks before you host the actual grand opening. All new businesses are bound to have some glitches when they first open, so waiting a few weeks ensures that everything will be running smoothly. Be aware of holidays and special events like sporting events, concerts, festivals,  etc. If your grand opening falls around the time of a holiday, you could use it to your advantage! Host an Easter egg hunt, a costume contest, or have a fireworks show depending on the time of the year it is.
  3. Decide on the type of event. Depending on the type of business you have, you’ll need to decide on what type of event you want it to be. Is it an open house, a pizza party, a sale, a ceremony, or something else? Just be sure whatever direction you go makes sense with the type of business you have. For example, you probably wouldn’t want to throw an ice cream social at the grand opening of a boutique.
  4. Make reservations. If you are having your grand opening outside, you may need to reserve some tents for shade, tables and chairs for seating, and other items that would make your customers more comfortable. Big AZ Tents & Events has a variety of tents, tables, and chairs that are sure to meet your needs and style.
  5. Book entertainment. Think about having a live band or some sort of entertainment available to create a lively atmosphere. This may not be appropriate for all business types but for some it could be really beneficial! You could offer bounce houses, balloon animals, and facepainting for kids or a money machine for adults. Make the event fun and people will definitely remember you!

Once you have all the planning done, it’s time to start preparing for the day of your event. Here are some things to think about to be sure everything goes off without a hitch!

The Day-Of Checklist

  1. Parking. If you expect people to all show up around the same time, make sure you have enough parking for everyone. If you advertise that the event will be over the span of a few hours, you won’t have to worry as much. If parking seems to be an issue, try to advertise different activities at different times throughout the day. For example, hourly raffles, kid friendly activities later in the day, or a variety of samples at different times during the event.
  2. Greeting and Departures. It may be a good idea to assign an employee to greet people as they arrive to the event. Let them know what’s going on, when the giveaways are, or where the free food is. And if you plan on handing out goody bags or free items, make sure you post someone at the exit who can oversee that your customers receive their bags.
  3. Do a run-through. Practice with your employees or team members to be sure everything is how you want it. Doing a run through ensures everyone knows where they are supposed to be and what they are expected to do during the event.

Don’t let the task of planning your grand opening event stress you out. This is a time to celebrate! As long as you stay organized and follow these steps, you should be able to pull the event off smoothly and with a ton of success!