Several hundred people were present to witness the ground breaking
This corporate event was to celebrate the ground breaking of the West Shore Hospital – Photo Credit, Sentinal

Hosting an official ribbon cutting or groundbreaking ceremony is a great way to showcase your new business. Not only is this a big milestone, it’s also a reason to bring in friends, supporters and the media to draw attention to your exciting endeavor.

Planning a successful celebration requires thinking ahead, paying attention to details and having a solid backup plan. Luckily this is all very do-able with just a hint of helpful advice to get you started!

Here’s a look at our top 7 tips for how to plan a fool-proof ribbon cutting or groundbreaking ceremony that will give guests a positive, lasting impression of your business.

  1. Strategically set your date…and a back-up date

Allow your guests at least 3 weeks’ notice to plan for your event. You want to have a good showing of supporters and media; too much time may cause people to forget about it and too little time may result in schedules already being booked.

Additionally, you want to be sure to have a back-up date in mind in case of weather, an emergency or a conflicting event. Do you research in advance to be sure another popular event isn’t already being planned for that day!

  1. Designate your emcee

Once you have your date, you should secure the person who will lead the program at your event. Ideally, this is a local dignitary like the president of your Chamber of Commerce, your town’s mayor or an elected official. An emcee will help to add organization to your event and may also help to draw in additional attendees, especially the media.

  1. Keep your guests comfortable with shelter and refreshments

Next, you want to think about how you will keep your guests happy at the event. Light refreshments will get people to mix and mingle. A tent is also a great way to create a special venue that feels more special than inside your place of business – and is essential for a groundbreaking ceremony that is held outside! This demonstration of hospitality will go a long way in creating a good impression of your business.

  1. Design an event space that will create a buzz

Once you’ve decided on your menu, the size of your tent and how many chairs and tables you will need, don’t overlook the finishing touches that will really make your event special. Consider renting table linens in the same colors as your business’s logo. Add a creative centerpiece to each table that reflects the products or services you provide. And finally, have plenty of business cards, brochures and a small giveaway item available for your guests to take. This is an important branding opportunity!

  1. Invite the media

Having the media at your event is a smart way to spread the word of your ribbon cutting or groundbreaking to more people than simply those in attendance. It’s important to also be prepared to provide them with all the information they will need to publish a positive story on your business! Send out a media advisory to invite your local media. Then, have a press release available for them to take with them at the event. Finally, make yourself available to speak with them to provide a quote or answer any questions.

  1. Hire your own photographer

While the media will have their own cameras, you still want to hire a personal photographer to ensure that adequate photos are taken to capture the event and that you have access to all of these photos. Use these photos when sending out your press release electronically after the event. Also, promote them on your website, social media and in your next newsletter.

  1. Keep the program short and simple

Finally, it’s important that your program allows all the necessary people to say a few words, but you definitely want to keep it as short as possible. Only the key people within your business (owner, CEO, etc.) need to speak. You also want to mention any special guests and acknowledge people who played a role in making the project possible. Your emcee will help to keep the program moving along, so be sure to pick one that is a good leader and public speaker!

Have you planned or attended a ribbon cutting/groundbreaking ceremony? Share your own ideas on the good, the bad and the ugly of what stood out at that event!

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