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Tips for Hosting a Special Event

With summer quickly approaching, it’s a great time to throw a party at your store. Special events can create a buzz around your business and draw customers in the door. How successful that event will be will depend, in large part, on how well you prepare. To help, here are some tips that will help you have an outstanding event.

Set a goal. Having a party is great, but why are you doing it? While you want people to have fun, you also want it to bring value to your business. Set goals for what you want to achieve. Ask questions such as: Who is my target audience? What do I want to promote? How will I measure if this is a success? Make sure your expectations are realistic. Don’t measure success solely based on sales, because the goodwill generated by the event will pay dividends in the future.

Communicate. People have to know what you are doing if you want them to show up, but be sure to use a variety of mediums to make sure you reach the most people. Social media and messages on your website are effective for many customers. Consider sending notes to your customer email list. Use in-store signage to remind customers that something big is going to happen. Perhaps the most effective way of all is to personally invite customers when you see them in the store.

Get feedback from employees. As you’re planning the details of your event, get your employees to weigh in with their own ideas. It’s always best to get a variety of opinions, and some employees might have some creative suggestions or catch something you overlooked.

Get employees to help. Don’t try to do all the work of running the event yourself. Get employees to help, because in addition to alleviating your stress, this will also get buy-in from your employees. When your employees are excited about the event you are conducting, they’ll pass that excitement on to your customers.

Start early. It may take several months to properly plan an event, depending on how complex it is. Give yourself plenty of time to plan so you can make sure you cover details such as any invited special guests, rented equipment, food and special merchandise for sale. Also take a look at the community calendars, local school events and upcoming holidays. You don’t want too much competition for your event.

Think through every detail. Even the best laid plans sometime go awry. It’s impossible to know everything that could go wrong, but the more planning you do, the more likely you will be able to fix problems when they arise. Ask yourself questions such as: How do I avoid long lines at the cashier? Where will people park? Do I have enough employees planned to work? Planning out all of the details will make it easier to deal with issues if they arise.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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