7 tips for a successful ribbon-cutting event

by Cindy Kibbe

Ribbon-cutting

You just opened your business and joined the Scottsdale Area Chamber as a Classic-level member. You’re already on your way to a successful start. Now, customers need to learn more about you.

One of the best ways to increase publicity and foot traffic is to host a Red Ribbon Networking Event with the chamber.

For members who have joined at the Classic level and above, the chamber will help you coordinate your ribbon cutting as a free benefit. Your account manager will work closely with you to help you decide what type event would work best for you and your business.

Not a new business? A Red Ribbon event is a great way to celebrate an existing company’s milestone, new location or anniversary.

And, yes — the chamber has the Big Scissors and red ribbon. You’ll even receive a free photo plaque commemorating your event.

Here are seven tips on holding an exciting event that may turn interested attendees into longtime customers:

1.  Contact your account manager — It all starts with a call to your account manager. He or she will walk you through the entire process to help ensure your event is a success.

2.  Open to the public or an intimate affair? — The goal of a Red Ribbon event is to show off your business to as many people as possible. Ribbon-cutting events are also great ways to meet your business neighbors, other chamber members and the community you serve. In that light, it makes sense to open your doors to the public. A small gathering of invitees, however, can be a great way to showcase your business to specific markets or VIPs, or celebrate a “soft opening.”

3.  Choose a date and time — Once you know whether you want to celebrate with a crowd or small group, choose a date and time. The chamber recommends Red Ribbon events be held in the late afternoon or early evening — around 5 p.m. is ideal — to make it convenient for most people to attend. It can be hard for those who work during the day to attend an event held earlier in the day. One exception to the rule — businesses catering to a morning crowd might consider an eye-opener event.

We also suggest having three possible dates in mind in case there’s a scheduling conflict — like another member’s great Red Ribbon event.

4.  Dignitaries? — The chamber works closely with the Scottsdale Mayor’s Office, and can check on the availability of the either the mayor or the vice mayor to attend your event if you wish. What’s more, members of the chamber’s Ambassador Committee as well as at-large members and chamber staff will attend to help you celebrate your success.

5.  A picture’s worth 1,000 words — Photographs of your event are a critical promotional tool. You can send photos to the newspaper as well as post them on your company’s social media pages. It’s important that photos be in color and a high-quality resolution. You wouldn’t want your company sign to be fuzzy because of a poor photo. If you don’t have your own photographer, your chamber account manager may be able to help you find one.

6.  Food, glorious food! — Food and beverages turn a ho-hum event into a party. While a fully catered affair can be spectacular, simple hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks are more than adequate to get the fun started. Alcoholic beverages can be elegant, but are subject to certain restrictions. You might want to check with your local authorities first. Music, either recorded or live, is also a great addition.

7.  Shout it from the rooftops! — The chamber will post your Red Ribbon Networking event on its website and member emails, but don’t let the promotion end there. Now’s the time to turn to your social media channels, put up flyers in your store, and tell all your customers, friends and family about your upcoming ribbon-cutting event.

When your big day arrives, your chamber representative will be there with the scissors and ribbon. All that’s left is for you to greet your guests, enjoy your event and celebrate your success.

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