Guide to Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting

Formal event with a specific time for guests to be at your business. Owner and/or manager (public officials presents) greet guests and cut ribbon.

You should be an existing business in a new location.

PLANNING YOUR EVENT

What are the criteria for determining if one of these eventsfit your needs?

  •  You should be within your first year of opening your business.
  • OR You should be an existing business in a new location.
  • OR You should be an existing business who has recently expanded or completed a major remodeling.

What type ofevent is rightfor your business?

Grand Opening — Can be a casual or formal event which lasts 1-2 hours.

Ribbon Cutting — Formal event with a specific time for guests to be at your business. Owner and/or manager (public officials presents) greet guests and cut ribbon.

Open House — Casual events which lasts several hours. Guests come and go informally and visit your business.

Selecting a Date and Time for your event:

Selecting a date is one of the most important decisions you will make as you begin the process of planning and staging a successful event. Before you make your decision, here are some important things to consider:

Allow plenty of time for the preparation. If possible, give yourself at least 2-3 weeks to make your arrangements.

Be aware of major holidays and avoid planning your event for those days. Also, if you are trying to attract bankers or government officials, take note of any special holidays when their offices may be closed.

Please try and coordinate the date with the SCIF well in advance to gvoid date and time conflicts with our events. Also, this allows us time to add your event to our event calendar and notify possible attendees. We can respond on short notice but prefer at least 2 weeks notice. We will also need other specifics of your event such as time, location, type Of event, etc.

The best days of the week to get good attendance are Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

Try to avoid planning your events on Saturday or Sunday. Most people have their own recreation or business plans on those days, and experience has told us your attendance could drop significantly.

Unless it is a necessity, morning events should begin no earlier than 8:00 a.m.

Luncheon events often turn out well since most everyone eats a mid-day meal. However, luncheons require more advance notice. Man people schedule lunch arrangements week ahead and they will need to be notified as early as possible to get your event on their calendars. If you decide on a lunch event, the best time is 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Late afternoon and early evening events seem to be the most popular and successful. This allows people to drop by after work at their convenience and doesn't interfere with their busy workday. The best time for an evening event is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., allowing everyone to "drop in."

Try to avoid mid-morning and mid-afternoon time periods. Many people are reluctant or unable to brake away from their work in the middle of the day

Half-day open house or tours of your company are not advisable unless it's necessary or traditional in your line of business. If you decide on a half-day event, be certain to have a designated time for a ribbon cutting or other special ceremonies.

Publicizing your event/sending invitations to those whom you want to attend.

Inviting the "right" people will vary depending on the event and your business, but they would normally include the following:

  • Potential and Current customers (your most important group)
  • Suppliers
  • Friends and family this is a big day for you and you'll want to share it with them
  • Your Board of Directors, if applicable
  • Those who helped you get started- your banker, contractor, accountant, attorney and advisors
  • Fellow business people in your area
  • Key government officials — County Judge, Mayor, City Council, EDC's, etc.
  • The Media

Once you have identified your guest list, remember when inviting them:

  • Prepare a nice letter of very basic invitation but always keep it simple and to the point; making sure all basic information is included- who, what, when, where and why.
  • Asking for RSVP's does help you with deciding how much food to provide but if you ask RSVP's, please know that people will typically wait until the last minute or will show up without RSVP-ing.
  • Allow sufficient notice. Between 10 days to 2 weeks is ideal for most events.
  • Be sure to include a map or clear instructions on how to get to your event.
  • Will parking be an issue? If so, please use the invitation to indicate and let the SCIF know where you would like guests to park.
  • If you choose to do an elaborate invitation, get professional help from a graphic artist or designer. Send your invitation by first- class mail, if at all possible. Bulk mail can take a week or longer.

Other significant details ofyour event:

  • Serving food and beverage — Although it's an added expense that you may prefer to avoid, serving food and beverage of some kind is almost a necessity for a successful event.
    • For morning events, coffee, juices, fruit and pastries are usually sufficient. A full breakfast is not necessary.
    • At lunchtime events, serve some kind of sandwich or buffet meal. Remember, it's your guest's lunchtime and they will expect some kind of filling food.
    • During the late afternoon or early evening events, light hors d'oeuvres or finger foods are appropriate. Chips, dips, cheeses, vegetables, or cold-cut trays are ideal
    • For medium or large events, enlisting the help of a professional caterer saves time and manpower and lends more expertise to the preparation. Caterers can give you good, solid advice and are not as costly as you might fear.
    • If you decide to provide your own refreshments, be sure to have an adequate amount of food and beverage for your guests as well as ample plates, cups, napkins, trashcans and other supplies.

Planning a program/mapping out your agenda —it adds a nice touch to have a brief program for your event, It provides valuable recognition for you and your key people. Allows you to explain more about your business and gives the event a purpose.

  • The shorter, the better. As a rule, no program or official ceremony should last longer than 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Prepare and agenda, even if it's just a back-of-an-envelope kind of thing. Things run much more smoothly. Your agenda could be something like:
    • Welcome Guests — done by owner, manager, president, etc;
    • Introduction of the company — explain what you do if a new business, about your new - location- if a second location or a move, your hours; introduce your staff.
    • Introduction of Board Members, elected officials, other dignitaries.
    • Call up those who are speaking (if this is part of your program)
    • Cut the ribbon — usually done by dignitaries and head company rep; some choose to have all employees doing the cutting
    • Thank you for attending — by a company rep
    • Offer everyone to take a look at your facility, and if large enough, you might want to offer tours.
  • Limit the number of speakers and the length of their speeches. Set a limit for all who take part in the program.
  • Introduce only those who need to be introduced even though the temptation will be to acknowledge nearly everyone in attendance that you know.
  • Conclude your program with the appropriate ceremonial or symbolic activity: a ribbon cutting for a grand opening is a good way to let guests know the formal program is over and creates good publicity opportunities for your photography.
  • If your event includes an open house or tour of your facilities, be sure friendly and knowledgeable employees conduct group tours. Unguided self-tours are not nearly as valuable.
  • Consider having some kind of door prize or drawing. Winning a sample of your product, dinner for two, etc, can add to your guest's enjoyment and build attendance

Obtain a ribbon that suits your needs if planning a Ribbon Cutting - Most members like to get a ribbon containing their company colors and a bow professionally tied in the middle.

Media coverage —you should not rely on the media to give extensive coverage to you special event. It's not that they do not view your function as significant; it's simply a matter of lack of staffing and sufficient air time or print space to carry your story.

Send your invitation to the new directors of city editors at least ten days ahead of your event. Include a brief letter or news release that contains the journalistic basics of who, what, when, where, and why.

A follow-up or reminder call the day before your event is a good idea.

Locate company sign or banner if needed.

Pre-determine room layout (where to place tables, chairs, podium, etc.)

Prepare any materials needed for the event (visuals, awards, checks, documents, gifts, samples, etc.)

Schedule a photographer if you desire professional photos