It’s time to put the spotlight on your business. Accomplishing your goals is no longer enough. It’s time to show off all of that hard work and build support within your own local community. Showcase everything that you do, plus what is new and exciting about your business. An open house should be your annual spring board for the holidays or busy season, pushing you towards an early deadline for implementation and team training on all new initiatives.
IMAGINE – all of your new initiatives implemented, your location in pristine condition, your team trained and your community informed BEFORE your busiest selling season! Think of the amazing customer experience that you can provide when everything is already in place and customers can be your only focus.
Quick tips for hosting an effective open house:
- Involve your full team. Keeping them engaged and motivated with a level of responsibility and accountability is the key to being highly successful.
- Start planning early and stay organized. Start planning your event at least 60 days before it takes place. Create a calendar for your team and a detailed checklist. Breaking the event down into small, simple daily tasks that are assigned to specific team members will make for successful execution. Keep the calendar/checklist in a centrally located area so that all team members can track the progress.
- Establish a reasonable budget.
- Partner with other local businesses. To highlight members of your community and save on expenses, ask local businesses to be the vendors for your event. Offer them promotional opportunities in trade for free or discounted services. Make your planning process easier by relying upon their expertise. Arrange for these services as early as possible in the planning process. What do they require for set up? What do you need to provide? How early will they need to set up? Ask them to preview the space. Confirm each partner’s participation one week prior to the event.
- Set the scene. Look at your business from the eyes of a new customer, from the moment he or she spots your location to the time that he or she is leaving your area. Start with curb appeal, then focus your efforts on your customer space and private work areas. Do not neglect your bathroom! Pull weeds; paint curbs; clean windows and refresh window displays. Organize interior displays and backroom supplies. Thoroughly clean every inch of every area, inside and outside. This is the time to invest in carpet cleaning, and other commercial cleaning services. Repair and replace dated, damaged or unappealing items. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders! What needs to be purchased? What can you create in-house? How much will this cost?
- Brainstorm a locally inspired theme. Celebrate your local culture and infuse seasonal elements. Brainstorm ways to communicate to visitors that you are opening up your family, home and business up to their family, home and business. What décor can appropriately accomplish these themes? Is there another local event, holiday or season that you could represent?
- Update all samples and displays. Update all dated and worn samples. Create samples of all new products and services that you will be launching. Feature local images by community artists and your customers on all samples to keep with the theme and the neighborhood atmosphere. Update your digital signage feed. Update and print brochures, rack cards, newsletter, stuffer and calendar of events. These can be placed anywhere and everywhere during the event, as well as inside gift bags.
- Create a unique guest experience. Plan out every moment of the attendee experience. How will traffic flow through the event? Where will food, beverage and entertainment be placed? What will enhance the guest experience and help to make it seamless?
- Require “all hands on deck” for maximum success. All team members should commit to being at your event prior to set up until after cleanup is complete. Have custom name tags created and worn. Consider also having team shirts. These could be fun and themed. It is important for guests to be able to easily pick out team members. If you are adhering to a more stylized theme, consider hats or costumes. Offer meals, snacks and hydration to your team throughout the day. Take turns taking breaks and eating, one at a time. Treat your team to a celebration within one week following the event. Celebrate your success and discuss your next event!
- Be the host(ess) with the most(ess)! Do not schedule yourself to do anything but be the host/hostess. Socialize with your guests. Personally acknowledge and thank your partners and special invited guests. Your sole responsibility is to create, foster and nurture relationships with the members of your community on behalf of your business.
Check out our most recent brand launch open house for The Print Refinery: https://www.facebook.com/ipiphoto/videos/10156119201127902/.