The Right Way to Make a Good First Impression

The Right Way to Make a Good First Impression on

A Successful Grand Opening Requires These 5 Things

It only happens once, and you don’t get a second chance. Your grand opening is the moment you finally invite everybody to see what you’re all about. It’s partly about celebration and fun, but it’s also a serious and strategic undertaking. You’re setting the stage and communicating your value proposition to customers.

Successful grand openings are carefully planned. Following these 5 steps will ensure a successful event.

1. Set Your Goals

One reason for your grand opening should stand above all others – besides the fact that you’re about to open for business. What is it?

Often, owners want people to talk about their business afterwards. If that’s your top goal, how do you plan to create excitement? What do you plan to showcase that will keep potential consumers thinking about your venue?

A second goal might be creating and building relationships with potential customers, vendors and influential people who can spread the word.

Give some thought to this subject while planning your opening. You’ll be on your way to a winning event that attracts customers and necessary contacts from day one.

Tip: Think outside the box. Obligatory balloons and clowns might be distractions. Using tours or demonstrating products are direct ways to engage the curiosity people will have about your business.

2. Set Your Budget

Unless your rich uncle is picking up the tab, there’s a realistic amount of money you can budget for your grand opening. Work your way into that number.

You’ve just set up a business, so you already know the crucial part that logistics and planning play. Take that knowledge set and apply it to determining your budget. There are the obvious line items such as catering and entertainment. A quick online search will net you checklists and help you start looking at costs.

Tip: Think Investment, Not Expense. The budget for your grand opening is an investment in a successful future. Make every dollar work toward that future.

3. Pick the Date

When setting the time and date for your opening, keep your audience in mind. You’ve already got a leg up on this if you’ve researched your target market. For example, if your business revolves around school supplies, your grand opening should not coincide with the first day of school (or the last).

Also, search for a balance between a date far enough out to allow people to plan for it, but not so far out that they forget about it.

Tip: Be the only game in town. There’s nothing you can do about the weather, but it’s easy to scan and pick dates clear of major conflicts for the majority of your intended guests.

4. Get the Word Out!

This isn’t a time to be passive. Reach out and make personal invitations. Use social media and online resources to help people remember your event. Get it on their calendars.

If your grand opening is for the public, make it easy for them to share that they’re attending. Social media is a powerful promotion tool.

Tip: Don’t overlook things like press releases to get the word out. What makes something like this work is getting it to the right people. Make sure information about your grand opening gets to the right individuals at news organizations. If not, the only person at your local TV station who will know about your grand opening is the receptionist who opens the mail.

5. Prepare for the Event

No-brainer? Perhaps.

Have you ever heard anyone say they wish they hadn’t spent so much time preparing for something important? A grand opening is like your first date with the person you’ll marry. Put as much time into planning what happens before, during and after your grand opening event as you did creating your business.

There’ll be hiccups right before things start. There is no way to avoid this. But, by planning at length, you can decrease the frequency of curve balls and the only difficulties that arise will be manageable.

Tip: Begin with the end in mind. Grand openings don’t have an off switch. They’re more of an ongoing continuum. How will you thank attendees? Coming up with a plan the day after isn’t a good idea. You’ll be too busy being open for business.

We do admit some bias on this point but it goes without saying: caterers and event organizers shouldn’t be viewed as luxuries. They’re professionals who can make the difference between a positive first impression and outright dismissal. If planning and executing a grand opening is not your area of expertise, engage an expert. For additional information on how Cold Stone Caterers can assist you with your grand opening needs, feel free to view our website.