After having had the pleasure of being a participant in the ribbon cutting ceremony at Skull Girl Soaps in Old Town on October 3rd, it occurred to me that some such events are much better than others at building momentum toward successful continued operations. Kim and Scott Ford did a terrific job in planning and executing Skull Girl’s debut, and I suspect that they either consciously or subconsciously followed the following guidelines.
- Figure out why you are holding a grand opening in the first place. Is it to thank your stakeholders? Attract press coverage? Entertain customers? Determine your priorities and plan accordingly.
- Develop a budget before you invite the guests. Knowing how much you want to spend will then let you determine the total amount needed based on a per-person cost.
- Now you can develop your guest list based on your goals and budget. Draft, revise, wash, rinse, repeat. If your budget is not working, reduce the number of guests or dig deeper.
- Send invitations at least three weeks in advance. Email and print are both acceptable; just be sure to ask for RSVPs as you’ll need to know how much food and beverage to have on hand. Follow up two days before the event to create top of mind with your invitees.
- Create an agenda for the event itself. What is going to happen when, and who will be involved and in charge? Every phase should be covered from the time that you arrive until the last guest leaves.
- Consider using a caterer so you can focus on your guests. Caterers have great relationships with other suppliers such as florists, entertainers, decorators, etc. A good caterer can act as your event manager, leaving you free to spend time with your guests and not on the details of the day.
- You only get one shot at a grand opening, so book a quality photographer to capture it. This is a milestone in your company’s history and it needs to be documented pictorially. The Helena Business Association recommends Gretchen B Photography and Tommy Daspit Photographer for this purpose.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. You can’t do it all, so get family, friends and employees involved. They will appreciate the responsibility and you will enjoy the event all the more.
- Go for it. Follow your timeline. Make sure that speakers and entertainers are not interrupted. Cut the ribbon, then stand back and let it happen. For the ribbon cutting itself, just contact us and we’ll take care of the details for you.
A well organized event will permit business owners and managers to mingle and celebrate the culmination of a lot of hard work and perseverance. The planning and organizing of your grand opening are well worth the effort.