The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinions, policies, or positions of StreetShares or any of its affiliates.
Anyone who has decided to start their own business knows that from that moment of inception, you never really stop. The building, fine-tuning, and figuring out your proof of concept is not something that happens overnight. But the moment will finally arrive when you are ready to have your official launch event. You are prepared to show the world the culmination of your long hours and hard work. Whether your business is brick and mortar or online, you should not think of a launch party as just another event; this is YOUR time to shine!
Know your objective
Sure, parties are fun. But before your launch, you have to ask yourself, 'what is my goal?' It could be to create brand awareness, reach a certain number of new customers, or earn a certain percentage of profit that evening. This will vary from business to business but go into your event with a clearly defined goal in mind.
Be clear (and realistic) with your budget
Regardless of if you are an online-only business or a brick and mortar, you need to know what your numbers look like to have a launch. Be sure when you begin drafting your ideas, take into account every dollar and cent, including free product you may be giving away. Also, be sure not to go into your launch with the mindset that you need to make a guaranteed profit that night to cover your expenses of hosting.
Pick a venue with some spunk
Often the thing that makes events a success from the start is the location. If you are doing an online launch, consider sitting somewhere in your home or office where customers can see where the magic happens. If you offer a service, be in a place that inspired you to start your business. In-person events very much follow the same suit in the sense that you want the venue to be somewhere that speaks to you and your business. Case in point, I once attended a launch event for a mom-and-pop public relations firm in Grand Central Station; magic.
Know who to have on your guest list
Being surrounded by friends and family for your launch is excellent. After all, they are usually your biggest fans. Remember though; you have a goal in mind for your business and this event. Think about who you want to work with when you think long-term, big picture. These are the people you want to invite so that you can begin working on a working relationship immediately.
Whether online or in-person, you want there to be a guest list. I don't say this to be a snob; I say this because people love to feel like they are experiencing something not available to everyone. If your event is solely online, consider sending out a special event link just before the event begins. If your event is in person, be sure people have their invitations with them to enter.
Have a few extra hands around
Remember, we are creating an experience and a memorable one at that. If people are physically attending your event, consider having people on hand to help with everything from a coat check to a bartender to wait staff. While an online launch party will not offer a buffet, you want to make sure you have at least one extra set of hands on deck to be in the comments section of your live feed to handle questions and feedback while you focus on the event.
Also by Adriana Clifford: Tips for Bringing Your Business Online
Give ‘em something good
It should come as no surprise that there should be some gift given to those who took the time to attend your launch. If you are in person, offer a small care package or a gift card to visit again. Online could be much the same, but your gifts will come in the form of discount codes or links. Whatever the direction you choose to go in, you want something that speaks to your business.
Invite the press
Exposure to your business, no matter the platform, can be like striking gold. Remember that we live in a time where the word 'press' has evolved. Our updated version of the press can, and should include, blogger(s) from your area and social media influencers. Create a simple one-page template to send them giving them all the details about your event and how they can have access to something they won't want to miss.
Advertise in advance
For many of the reasons we have already talked about, your launch party should not be something that is thrown together in 72-hours. People are busy, and while they may want nothing more than to attend, you have to give them time to make time. Be sure to give people several weeks’ notice; you can even send save-the-date cards depending on your timeline, in an attempt to make sure your guest list stay full.
Say thank you
On the evening of, be mindful of issuing a public 'thank you' to anyone who invested time or effort in your special evening. Everyone from people you may have hired your venue to the person behind the scenes of your online party.
Want more great small business content like this, delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to the StreetShares blog!
This communication is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be an advertisement, a solicitation, or constitute professional advice, including legal, financial, or tax advice, nor is StreetShares providing advice on any particular situation.