Hardware Retailing

MAR 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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March 2018 | HARDWARE RETAILING 77 Every event should have a purpose and you should be able to clearly define it. Share Your Passion Whatever your goal, choose something that will get you and your staff excited. The Christmas parade is only one of the many events the Huddlestons coordinate. One of the largest is a safety day, which is designed to promote child safety in the community. In fact, nearly every event they organize is in some way centered around children. "The biggest key in having a successful event is finding what you are passionate about," Jason says. As parents of four children, the Huddlestons understand the importance of offering family- oriented activities, but they also have a larger picture in mind. "We realize that we're a community with a lot of older people in it. If children grow up and feel that their hometown has nothing to offer them, they are likely to move away. We want to start establishing good memories in those children now so they feel a connection with the town when they get older." Know Your Audience and Your Message Try summarizing the goal for your event in a sentence or two. Is it clear enough that everyone on staff can easily understand what you are trying to do? You'll also want to make sure your event makes sense with your customer base. For example, you might want to simply say thank you to your customers for their business, you might want to promote a particular department in your store and drive sales, or you might be helping a local nonprofit raise money. With a clear goal in place, you can make sure everything you do for the event works toward it. Start Small and Know Your Limits If anyone knows how complicated a large event can be, it's Unterreiner. For the past 13 years, he has been on the planning committee for his town's annual car show. He begins several months before the event taking care of getting sponsors, scheduling entertainment and ordering trophies for the winners. But it didn't start that large. As one of the founders of the event, Unterreiner needed some time to learn the demands of handling a large crowd. "Don't try to go too big at one time, but grow gradually," he says. "Otherwise, it might end up costing you more money." If you're tackling your first event, start with something simple. You will learn from your mistakes and successes and build from there. One easy way to go too big too fast, for example, is with sale items. By offering merchandise at a discount, you can draw a crowd, but overspending is counterproductive. "Don't try to give away so much merchandise so that you're not making any money," Unterreiner says. "Don't run yourself out of business while trying to promote your business." Set Your Goals Connect with a cause. If part of the goal of your event is to help a nonprofit, you could actually share the costs of your event while helping a worthy cause. The local charity you choose to support can help advertise your event through its own channels. Give other businesses a chance to get in on the action with sponsorships, too. Sponsorships can increase the amount of money you are able to donate, help pay for your expenses and increase your visibility. More than likely, others will be eager to help. Money-Saving Tip The tool show at Rocking R Ace Hardware includes a local radio personality to add excitement to the event.

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