The right open house strategy can be a huge success for a small business. It can help foster relationships with customers, build brand awareness and foster new business. However, it takes a lot more than just running an ad in the newspaper and buying some food to make an open house event successful. Proper planning and exemplary execution are key to getting the most out of an open house event.

Start by setting a date before the actual opening of your store or office. This will allow you to ensure that your location is fully equipped, furnished and stocked before the event. Once you’ve established the date, start sending out invites to your customer and prospect list, distributing flyers in local businesses and on social media.

Consider adding unique features to your open house, such as an art show or a walk tour of local highlights. These will help attract a wider variety of guests, as well as give your attendees something to do with their friends and family.

Don’t forget to set up multiple stations for registration, gift and prize entries, and other activities, so that you don’t create bottlenecks near the entrance. This is especially important if you’re hosting a large number of guests. Using visitor management software, like The Receptionist, can help streamline the process and keep it moving. This will also free up your staff to interact with and welcome your guests as they arrive.