If your business or firm is new in Chesterfield County, getting the public acquainted with your firm, location, products or service and various forms should be your primary objective. The news media, of course, and various forms of advertising will play a vital role in helping you to accomplish this.
However, many new firms believe that some type of official opening, an open house, dedication or ribbon-cutting ceremony, serves a two-fold purpose of introducing them to the community and helping to build good will and understanding among the general public.
The success of whatever type of event you decide on depends upon your ability to be a good promoter, good host and a bit of a showman. The main idea is to attract people to your place of business and then to keep them interested and entertained while there.
INVITATIONS: Clever invitations help to assure good attendance. The time, place, firm, address and any special event or activity that might be planned should be mentioned. If food or refreshments are to be served, this should also be included in the invitation. If this is the case, you should ask for an RSVP. Invitations may be extended to the general public or may be limited to civic, chamber, governmental leaders, news media, employees, customers of the company, your close friends, neighboring firms, the sales staff or other groups. Double check your invitation list to be sure no one who should be invited is left off. Send them well in advance.
PRIVATE OR PUBLIC OPENINGS: Many firms hold two openings, one for special guests and a second for the general public. This of course, depends on your type of business, size of your building and what you feel is best for your own firm.
PUBLICITY: Promotion should be started well ahead of the event. The way to achieve good coverage is the same as for any other publicity campaign. Well prepared deadlines. Follow up stories should be as well-planned as those preceding the event and the news media should take part in the event. Interest in an opening may be stimulated through newspaper ads, spot radio announcements, outdoor signs, window displays and direct mail. A blanket invitation may be extended through newspaper ads, radio spots or signs at the site of the business. The invitation may be mailed to selected guests, inserts in pay envelopes can be used to invite employees and tell them to bring their friends and families. In case of new locations or hard-to-find locations, invitation should include maps or directions telling guests how to find you.
Refreshments – Again, this depends on your type business, size of building, and hours of your opening. Coffee and light refreshments have proven very popular. Some firms find a social hour or cocktails at an opening held late in the day popular.
Hostesses – Employees or staff members often are used to greet your guests, make sure they sign a guest book, give them name tags, etc.
Tours – Certain members of your staff should be assigned to give tours of your building to your guests. If you have a small firm, your hostesses, secretary or even yourself might act as a guide.
Gifts or Souvenirs – A small gift or souvenir for your guests can help to make your opening more successful. If your firm has some novelty, calendar, notebook, or other item with the firm’s name imprinted on it, this could also be used.
Special Event – The traditional ribbon-cutting event still is popular. Other ideas might also be used, such as putting the key in the lock to open the firm for business.
Photographs – Don’t fail to have pictures taken of the event. Post these pictures prominently where your employees will have a chance to see them when the event is over. Copies should be sent to special guests who participated in the ribbon-cutting or who were on hand for the event. Copies may also be provided to newspapers, radio stations, and Company internal newspapers.
TIPS TO YOU: Move around and greet as many people as possible. Have your details planned out and assignments made to staff members. Make your opening as smooth and as well organized as possible. Have each employee assigned to some certain job that day. Line up persons for photographs in advance to avoid hurt feelings. Always follow up with a note of thanks to persons or firms sending flowers, etc. for your opening.