Today’s episode is all about the final piece to opening up a new business—this is our last tactical episode. I don’t even know how many that I’ve done, to be honest. I’ve kind of lost track. I believe we’re definitely well over three weeks and 25 plus episodes and step by step on how to launch and market a new business. I will do a recap episode tomorrow. And today’s topic is all about the grand opening—the open house event—all of that kind of fanfare, so to speak.
Everything that we’ve been doing is kind of leading to opening the doors, so to speak. Basically, the open house or the grand opening celebration or whatever phrase you would like to use is really the culmination event that just now says you’re officially open for business. Now in the example that we’ve been using the last few weeks, we’ve used a childcare center.
Ideally, you have been executing the different strategies in generating plenty of enrollments before you have this grand opening celebration. The grand opening celebration, however, can be kind of an open house event. It’s going to be an enrollment event in this child care center example. It’s going to be a press event—it’s a lot of different kinds of things all in one.
PLAN OUT THE EVENT AHEAD OF TIME
The first step to this is you want to make sure that you are planning this event for two or three months in advance. The date should be out into the community. You want to look at all the different local newspapers, local websites—all the different places that you can get the event featured so that people know that on this date, you’re having this fun, reconnect reopening, but you’re having this fun, celebration—the grand opening open house.
You want to make sure that again, well in advance two to three months out, you’ve already planned all this stuff so that you’re not having to just hope that people show up. So again, I want you to talk about the event and get it featured in as many places as you possibly can. I want you running Facebook ads a couple of weeks in advance getting people to RSVP.
PARTNER WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES
I would like you to partner with other local businesses. So, what are some of the local businesses again, that you have done some partnerships with or some joint ventures with over the last couple of weeks or a couple of months that you want to also invite. I want to make sure that you have the event either catered or some really good food, you don’t want to cheap out on this first big event, because it’s going to set the tone for a lot of different things. It may make strategic sense to hire a party planner to let them deal with a lot of the details so they can have that attention to detail, to make sure that everything is executed to perfection.
DO A LOT OF PRESS RELEASE ABOUT THE EVENT
So when you’re planning a couple of months out, it’s a lot of doing that PR. It’s a lot of just getting things out to the universe talking about this upcoming event that you’re doing—it’s really a big branding play. You want to have some different fun things that are only going to be happening at that particular event. Are you going to be giving away really fun and interesting prizes? Maybe one person that shows up is going to get six months of free childcare, for example. Perhaps, they’re going to win an iPad, a Chromebook, or something like that. And you’re going to be giving away fun swag bags. I mean, I really want it to be an event that you go all out in.
Now, it’s gonna serve a couple of different purposes.
1. First, as I mentioned, it’s a branding type of event.
It’s letting others in the community that probably for whatever reason, didn’t see your billboard or heard your radio ad. They didn’t see your video on YouTube or perhaps, they didn’t see your ad on Facebook for whatever reason. Maybe they’re living under a rock, so they don’t know about your new business. You’re gonna want to have that best foot forward. And, it’s a branding play where they can come in to your childcare center, for example, and see all the different things that you’re about. So that’s one piece.
2. Getting that PR
I want the local Chamber of Commerce there with the big scissors to do the ribbon-cutting, for example. I want any of the local news people to be invited to get some exclusive articles. Again, I want prizes and giveaways, that way, you’re going to generate some really good local press.
3. Close some sales and gain more business
While the event is partially a little bit of a party, and it’s going to have a lot of fun—good food and good entertainment. Obviously, with the child care center, everything is safe and you’ve got safety. Maybe you could pay or invite a couple of people from the police department and they’re just kind of showing your commitment to the community—maybe they’re just keeping an extra close eye or perhaps giving out stickers or I mean, something fun like that.
However, you want to make sure that again, all of that stuff is choreographed. The piece that I really want to make sure that you are thinking about is how is this event going to be insanely profitable. The reason behind that is that regardless of the type of business and again, we’ve been using this child care center example, people love to spend money on Open House events and grand opening celebrations. It’s just one of those things that they almost feel obligated to do.
Essentially, I want you to be marketing and advertising, all of the fun and interesting things that you have at that event. You’re going to have a magician or you’re going to have somebody that’s doing yoga for the parents. You’ve got seven different chair massages set up from a local company that they’re going to be in one of the rooms. You have all your staff there who will be watching the kids so the parents can really get a good overview of things.
But I want to make sure that you have that choreographed experience so that if a family hasn’t enrolled, that they’re coming and you have a special offer if they sign up on the spot.
You should have someone that’s ready to do tours. You should have applications ready to go. You should be able to take credit cards or checks on the spot and you want to have some kind of insane, special offer, something that just really pushes them over the edge if they weren’t already over the edge.
So whether again, it’s something that you haven’t offered online because they most likely have already seen everything. If you’ve done your job well over the last three months or six months of marketing this new business, they should have seen a lot of your different materials. And for whatever reason, they haven’t moved over the fence, give them something to really push them over the fence.
I found one of the best ways to do that is by having a world-class experience and the second one is by having a world-class offer. I personally love trying things that other centers are not doing, for example. So doing things that are just vastly different.
You’ve got to make sure that you are generating revenue from this event. So when you’re planning all that stuff out a couple of months in advance about the press and who’s going to be coming and lining up the Chamber of Commerce, who’s doing the food and all of that good stuff, I want to make sure that you have that path to profits.
How are you going to be doing it?
Is there going to be a table you’ve got a dedicated person that’s going to be conducting those tours and taking applications and big signs?
This event needs to be flawless—there is no room for error. There’s no room for mistakes. I cannot stress that enough.
And far too often, it’s one of those situations where you try and put something together a couple of weeks in advance and it just looks sloppy. I would rather you not do the event. I need this to be extremely on point. And if you execute this well, you’ll get lots of great press, you’ll get some good write-ups. You’ll have stuff in the Chamber of Commerce and some good photos there. You’ll generate some new enrollments on the spot. You’ll create some good branding throughout the community. You’ll further develop those partnerships that you were working on a couple of months in advance.
So bring in those different businesses, as long as again, it makes strategic sense. Maybe there’s a massage therapist company like I said, and you want to have them at the event. You’re gonna pay them a little bit of money and they’re gonna have that there, but then they’re also indirectly benefiting from the branding. Don’t order chain food, make sure you order a nice local restaurant, and don’t order pizza. I mean, I live in Buffalo. I love pizza, but I want this to be to another level—it’s gotta be to another level.
This event is the culmination of the last couple of weeks of all these different tactics that we have gone through—conduct your open house, conduct your grand opening, and I wish you the ultimate grand opening celebration and ultimately new business a success.
Get out there, make a change, and take some action.