Article Date: 10/1/2005

extreme practice makeover
Celebrate Your Grand Opening
Whether your practice is new or just got a face lift, celebrate to publicize.
SUSAN ABRAMOVITZ

Opening a new practice or a new location is a happy, but hectic time. Like Dr. Mann, if you plan ahead this event can double as a marketing activity. Build team spirit and introduce your new space to current and potential patients with your grand opening. Use these guidelines for a successful event.

Work in your new space a few weeks before the opening to get comfortable and discover any bugs in construction. This way, you can be sure everything is ready for the big opening.

Involve the staff

Assign a trusted staff person or people to manage the grand opening. This person should adhere to your budget and meet deadlines. Assign he or she to:

Your event is a party, but your guests will be curious about your space and what you do. Ask for volunteers to greet and welcome guests. Have another staffer serve as tour guide. Make sure he or she can explain the function of the equipment for curious guests. Have another staff member take pictures throughout the evening.

Opticians should show off the selection of eyeglasses by encouraging guests to try on the frames. This will be fun for the guests and will lead to some sales as well. Also, make sure that someone is available to schedule an appointment if a guest requests one.

The guest list

Because your guest list is varied, develop a separate invitation for each set of guests. You can use one design and adapt it for each group. If you are relocating, include directions to your new office.

Entertainment

Food. Hire a caterer. If you have a theme, carry it into the food. Keep it simple so guests can carry small plates while they visit. If your space permits, set up two or three food stations with different choices throughout your office, especially in the dispensary where you want guests to spend some time.

Ambiance. Use fresh flowers for color. Congratulatory plants you receive before the event can also double as decorations. Use a stereo or your office system for music and keep it low so people can talk.

Publicity

If you are a member of your local Chamber of Commerce (you should be), call a few months in advance of the opening. The Chamber offers a variety of services to help promote your event. They will send ambassadors to your office for a ceremony, announce the event in their newsletter or allow you to publicize the event in advance using their mailing list.

Gifts for your guests

Everyone likes a freebie. If budget allows, give your guests a gift. It can be as simple as a printed pen or as elaborate as a tote bag with your logo on it.

DR. SCOTT MANN OPERATES INVISION WITH TWO PARTNERS: DRS. BECKY COOK MANN AND JON GUDEMAN. THE OFFICES ARE LOCATED IN SALEM AND CHRISTIANSBURG, VA. DR. MANN WAS CHOSEN AS THE WINNER OF THE EXTREME PRACTICE MAKEOVER, SPONSORED BY HAAG-STREIT USA, IDEOPIA AND OPTOMETRIC MANAGEMENT.

MS. ABRAMOVITZ IS PRESIDENT OF IDEOPIA, AN ADVERTISING, INTERACTIVE AND BRAND STRATEGY AGENCY WITH A SPECIAL FOCUS ON THE OPHTHALMIC FIELD. FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING A COMPLETE CHECKLIST, VISIT WWW.IDEOPIA.COM /MAKEOVER.ASP.



Optometric Management, Issue: October 2005