When most people think “Grand Opening,” they think food, music, prizes and fun. Those working behind the scenes to actually pull off a Grand Opening event, however, often have a different perspective: work, work and more work.
Yes, planning and executing a Grand Opening party, whether for an automotive-type or any general consumer facing business, is quite the challenge. But having been instrumental in the Grand Opening of CrashedToys of Dallas this April, I can tell you that it’s also a lot of fun, not to mention rewarding!
Here are five keys to pulling off a successful Grand Opening event:
1. Establish a plan, but be nimble.
Like any savvy marketing team would, we developed extensive project plans, including launch and post-launch budgets, media calendars, social plans, timelines and more. After all, “proper planning prevents poor performance,” as the saying goes. As we all know, though, a plan is a plan is a plan. In other words, it’s apt to change. Our plans changed many times! Advertising spend fluctuated. Start and end times shifted. Messaging was tweaked. As you’re planning a launch or Grand Opening event, remember to stay nimble in order to accommodate any curveballs that come your way.
2. Become more organized than you’ve ever been.
However organized you think you are now, take that up a level when planning for a launch or Grand Opening. Create checklists, develop Gantt charts, or make notecards to post on your whiteboard. Different methods of organization work for different types of people, so do what works for you…and then some! If you have members on your team who are particularly organized, recruit them to assist you.
3. Empower your team to own projects.
Whether buying media, building landing pages, planning a ribbon cutting (or, for CrashedToys’, a chain laceration), coordinating a Motorcycle Ride In, or hosting a Bike Show (complete with celebrity guest judges!), the project list for a launch or Grand Opening requires a lot of heavy lifting. As a leader, you must motivate, support and empower your employees to step up and command ownership of their pieces of the puzzle. Remember, you can’t do it all on your own.
4. Outsource help when you need it.
Even if you have the best team working on your launch, it is important to still understand where you may have gaps. I knew we’d need outside support, particularly with graphic design and video production, to stay on top of the workload. As a result, we hired a part-time contractor, as well as outsourced some assignments to creative agency partners. We also asked for assistance within our company, and employees from other departments volunteered to help us make this launch a success. The work isn’t going to go away in many cases, so don’t be afraid to get some extra help when it’s needed.
5. Don’t lose sight of your core business.
Although launching a new brand, product or service might be a priority now, it is critical to maintain ongoing marketing efforts for your core business. Grand Openings are important, but in the grand scheme of things, they’re one-day events that shouldn’t come at the expense of your primary revenue drivers. While we were getting ready to introduce CrashedToys, we were also continuing to drive the marketing strategy and implementation of our core brand, Copart.
Now that you’ve had the best Grand Opening, be sure to measure its success against some key performance indicators (KPIs) to see how you did!
That’s it! Time to celebrate! Remember, it’s all a matter of keeping the five keys for success top of mind.