It’s no secret that about half of all businesses fail within their first five years. That’s why it’s important to find ways to stand out and stay in business. And an open house can be just the tool you need to do this. It can allow people the opportunity to see what you do, get to know your staff, and be a part of the business. And if done right, you may even be able to make your first few sales in the process.

But just opening your doors to the public is not enough. In order to entice people to take time out of their schedules, you’ll need to give them a good reason to do so. Here’s how to host the most successful open house possible, while centering it around your own type of business.

Partner with other businesses

The best way to ensure success for an open house is to involve other businesses in your community. And there is more than one way to do this. You can convince several other businesses in your vicinity to host their own open houses. This way, you can share advertising and make it a bigger event sure to attract more customers.

Another way to include other businesses is to exchange goods or services. For example, a bakery might provide you with free coffee and snacks in exchange for prominently displaying their advertising. Or, other businesses might provide items for door prizes.

If there are several new businesses in your area, you might even be able to partner together for one community event. This could be held at one of the participating businesses or in a neutral location. You could then have a game night, silent auction, dinner party, or just a casual mix and mingle. It’s helpful for advertising if each business donates items or services for door prizes. But you can also prominently display your banners around the room, as well as handing out flyers and business cards.

Stock up on promotional products

Promotional items are still effective forms of advertising because people don’t usually throw them away. Even if they are items they can’t use, they will usually pass them on to someone else rather than waste them. And promotional products can be anything from refrigerator magnets to clothing. It all depends on your budget and type of business. But for an open house to be successful, it’s crucial that you have something to offer. For example, if your business is an accounting firm, you might hand out customized tax folders with calculators and printed financial tips. Or a beauty shop might give away hair brushes with their logo on the handle.

Hire a party planner

If you feel you’re under-qualified to host an event people will want to attend, consider hiring a professional. A party planner can help you with food, entertainment, and even advertising. If they’re local, they can probably even help you out with word-of-mouth marketing that you wouldn’t otherwise get. A professional can help you decorate your business and come up with unique ideas for attracting guests that you might never have thought of on your own. He or she may also be able to get you some deals on some other things you need.

Prepare your staff

An open house should be a mandatory event for most of your staff. And if your business is new, it’s a good idea to prepare them to answer difficult questions. If you own a New Brunswick Dental Practice, for instance, make sure your employees can answer basic questions about pricing and appointments. But also educate them on what questions should only be addressed by management.

Since this is your introduction to the community, it would be a shame to blow it with a customer by appearing like you don’t know what you’re doing. For this reason, it’s important to only have your open house when you feel your employees are ready. Conduct team meetings and trainings prior to the event and let them all know what to expect.

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