You've worked hard to make your company the success it is today. Those little and big milestones are worth celebrating. However, knowing you've hit a milestone, and coming up with unique ways of marking the occasion, are two different things.
According to the U.S. government, about 50 percent of businesses fail by year five and 70 percent by year 10. Even making it through your first year is something to celebrate. Some of the milestones you should revel in are the number of years in business, meeting big goals, awards and accolades. Use any excuse to have a party.
There are many benefits to noting milestones, including free PR, fun for employees and reminding your leadership how far you've come. Here are eight fun ways to celebrate.
1. Throw a Party
Who doesn't love a party? Celebrate anniversaries by throwing an employee gathering at lunch or after work. Buy a cake, bring in catering and decorate. Yes, planning an event takes a bit of work, but it also shows your employees you're aware you couldn't achieve half of what you do without their help. Even for small businesses, employees have a lot of impact on your success and failure, so allow them to celebrate with you.
2. Involve the Public
Anytime you can engage the public in what you're doing you'll gain customers and brand recognition. Send out press releases and be proud of your accomplishments as a company. Figure out ways of involving consumers in your events, such as hosting a public health fair, inviting people in for free tours or hosting local events.
The city of Flagstaff, Arizona celebrates their 90th anniversary by showing off 66 kicks (happenings) along Route 66. The event celebrates the history of the area but also creates something interactive for those who love the city. The kicks get people talking and involved and also help generate buzz for Flagstaff tourism.
3. Frame Your First Dollar
Have you ever visited a small restaurant and they have a dollar bill framed and hanging on the wall? The first time you make a sell, take one of the dollars from the purchase and frame it. The money reminds you that you've already done something many people never have — started your own business and found customers. It isn't easy to take a leap of faith and start something new without any promise of success. Recognize the entrepreneurial spirit by honoring the first customer and first sale, which marks an essential part of your company's history.
4. Add a Note on Your Website
One simple way of marking a business anniversary is adding a note to your logo or somewhere on your page that you're celebrating an anniversary. A notation also shows consumers the longevity of the brand and adds a level of trust. If you were going to make a large purchase, would you go with the established business that will be around to solve any problems you have or the brand new business? If you've operated for a year or more, add a notation somewhere on your website.
Thompson Tractor Company makes a note in the footer of the website that they have been in business for 60 years. They place their logo in the background and in bold, black lettering share that they are "60 years strong." The emblem shows potential customers the company is experienced and likely to be around to help them with any equipment problems they might run into.
5. Encourage Employees
Use milestones to encourage your employees and reduce churn. Milestones include employee milestones, such as someone with 20 years in your company or a worker who submitted an idea which helped the company excel.
Out of the workers who don't feel recognized at work, 22 percent interview for another job with a different company. While raises and annual reviews are nice, other forms of recognition help employees feel appreciated, such as having a cake on their birthday and marking milestone years with a small gift and note about how much the company values the employee.
6. Give Back
If your company reaches a particularly successful milestone, why not celebrate by giving back to those who've helped make you a success, your local community, or even the world? When your company reaches profit milestones, give some of that money back by sponsoring employee volunteer days or donating money to a local cause. You'll likely get some free press from the endeavor, but that shouldn't be the reason you choose the charity. Focus on what you believe in as a company and how you can support your mission.
Baudville commemorated their 25th anniversary with community involvement. They observed the occasion by sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity home. They also enabled their employees to volunteer at the worksite through the gift of time. The company handed out exclusive T-shirts, offered transportation to the worksite and leadership personally delivered lunch to employees on site.
7. Give Out Souvenirs
Create anniversary or milestone souvenirs and give them out to employees and customers. Not only does the promotional item commemorate your accomplishments, but your brand will be in the user's mind each time they grab a cup of coffee, wear your shirt or open an umbrella with your corporate logo on it. Try to find a promotional item that makes sense for your industry. For example, if you sell coffee makers, a coffee mug is a perfect choice. If you are an HVAC company, a calendar along with pre-marked furnace service dates works well.
8. Send Out Thank Yous
You hit your goals because of your customers. Without your customers, your business would fail. Spend time sending out personal thank you cards to your top customers, most loyal customers and even your most demanding customers. These notes should be personal and written specifically to each client. It may take all year to send them all, but you still need to make an effort to personalize them.
Imagine you have a customer who's been with your business since day one. They complain frequently, are difficult to please, but they come back for orders month after month and year after year. Sit down and thank that customer for their loyalty. Tell them you're aware there have been growing pains along the way, and you're happy that the company has met their expectations over time. Thank them for helping you reach your five-year mark or whatever occasion.
If you have too many customers to write all the letters yourself, enlist the help of department heads to finish all the thank yous.
Celebrate Your Successes
Running a business is hard! Take time and rejoice in big and small victories. Figure out who and what you're honoring with each event and don't overlook vital players in the growth of your company. Whether you throw an event or simply announce your milestone, think about where you started and how far you've come as well as goals for the future.