A lot of hard work goes into establishing a new small business. After months or more of securing a location, applying for licenses and creating the perfect logo, you’re finally ready to open… and you want to do it with a bang. How can you ensure a successful and memorable opening day? You can start with a great grand opening idea.
If you want to hold a spectacular grand opening for your small business, you can’t leave the big day to chance. By carefully planning your grand opening and selecting one or more exciting grand opening events to attract a crowd, you can ensure your new business starts strong.
Why Your Business Should Have a Grand Opening Event
You more than likely went through how to start a business step by step, to make sure you covered all your bases. And it shouldn’t be any different when it comes to hosting a grand opening event. While hosting a grand opening can take some extra time and effort, a successful launch event can benefit a new business in the following ways:
- Create brand awareness – Establishing a brand can be difficult. How do you attract people to your location or create a need for your product within their minds when they’ve never heard of you? A grand opening event is a way to capture attention and draw an audience.
- Promote excitement – Every new small business owner dreams of being embraced by the local community. A grand opening event can create buzz, promote excitement and endear a brand to the local audience, whether it’s in appreciation of a brand that is giving back or in recognition of an exciting adventure.
- Build relationships – A successful small business is one that builds relationships, both with its customers and other organizations and the wider community. A grand opening event offers an opportunity to work with other small businesses and community leaders.
How do You Announce a Grand Opening?
A grand opening can’t be effective if nobody knows about it. It’s vital to advertise your grand opening to drive brand awareness and create buzz for your new business. But what is the best way to announce a grand opening? Fortunately, there are a variety of effective ways to promote your grand opening event, including traditional advertising like flyers and print advertisements and modern methods like social media posts. For the best chance of success, announce your business’s grand opening event in a variety of applicable methods.
How to Have a Successful Grand Opening Party
Event planning is vital to holding a successful grand opening for your new business. Don’t wait until grand opening day and expect it all to come together. That’s simply a recipe for disaster because anything that could go wrong very likely will without preparation. The following five tips will help you have a successful grand opening:
- Set goals for your grand opening – What do you want to accomplish during your grand opening? Establish specific goals before planning activities to support them.
- Establish your grand opening budget – How much money do you plan to spend on your grand opening event? Event costs can add up quickly, so it’s important to establish a budget before planning for activities, guests and gifts.
- Book the date for the grand opening – You can’t ensure partners, guests or customers can attend your grand opening event without carefully choosing the date well in advance.
- Promote your grand opening event – Whether it’s through traditional advertising like print and radio ads, social media posts like Facebook events, passing out flyers or word of mouth, a grand opening event can only be successful if audiences are aware of it and are enticed to attend.
- Invite the press to your grand opening event – Don’t stop promoting your grand opening event when the big day comes. Invite local business leadership, influencers and members of traditional media channels to attend your grand opening event and report their experiences to their audiences, further driving brand awareness after the grand opening concludes.
12 Amazing Grand Opening Ideas for Small Business
Want to hold a grand opening event that generates plenty of buzz for your brand and gets the community exited to welcome your new business? A plethora of grand opening event ideas are available to try, although not every type of grand opening is ideally suited to every type of small business. The following 12 unique grand opening ideas can serve as a guide to the types of events you could choose to host:
1. Break a World Record
On the day of your grand opening, try to break a world record related to your business. You don’t have to be a record expert to think of one, just reference the Guiness Book of World Records and choose a record that in some way deals with your line of work. For example, a restaurant might try and break a world record related to food. Promote the event, it will not only serve as a publicity stunt and draw a crowd, but the press will help drive brand awareness after the fact.
2. Host a Huge Giveaway
Who doesn’t love free stuff? Hosting a giveaway is an effective way to draw a crowd to your business’s grand opening. Hosting a raffle or offering a door prize for event attendees to win is a great way to attract an audience to your business for your grand opening. What should you give away? Try to choose prizes related to your business. For example, a travel agency could give away a trip, a restaurant could give away a gift certificate or food basket and a retail store could offer a shopping spree. Of course, giveaways don’t always have to be costly. You’d be surprised how effective a gift as basic as free samples can be at attracting a crowd.
3. Host a Free Concert for Your Local Community
Communities appreciate free events, and music is almost always an effective way to draw an audience. By booking a band or two to perform at your grand opening, you are almost guaranteed to increase your attendance. Work with local artists, as the appearance can be mutually beneficial to each of your brands, and be sure to promote the appearance in advance.
4. Promote Celebrity and Influencer Appearances
Your new business might not yet have the brand recognition to draw its own crowd, but you still can harness the power of bigger names to attract a target audience to your grand opening. Celebrities are known to attract a crowd wherever they go, and an endorsement from a big name can go far in promoting your own small business’s success. Contact a local celebrity to appear at your grand opening, then be sure to promote the appearance. In lieu of a celebrity like a rock star or famous actress, invite special guests like social media influencers, local artists and philanthropists from the community.
5. Host an Art Show
Demonstrating an appreciation for the arts is a positive first impression to leave on a community, and hosting an art show makes for a memorable grand opening event. Invite local artists to display their favorite works during your grand opening, and be sure to invite the press to attend for some free advertising. Your art show could be reserved for professional artists, or you could host a student art show or an art show open to the entire community.
6. Host a Charity Event or Fundraiser
Hosting a charitable event or fundraiser to benefit the community is another unique idea for a grand opening event. It not only attracts potential customers, but it establishes your brand as an honorable member of the local business community, a brand that customers want to support with their hard earned dollars. By partnering with a charity for your grand opening, you can build relationships with local business leaders and leave a positive impression on event attendees. You can either host an event designed specifically to raise money for a charity, or you can simply announce that proceeds from your primary grand opening event will be donated to a specific charitable cause, preferably one related to the small business or its niche.
7. Partner with Local Small Businesses
Parterning with other local businesses to participate in your grand opening is a positive marketing strategy and serves as an avenue to develop long-term professional relationships. Look for local businesses whose niche complements your own, and invite them to participate in your grand opening, whether they do so by attending, setting up tables and booths, giving away merchandise or even co-hosting an event. Not only will the two of you forge a working relationship, but their marketing efforts will benefit, as well.
8. Hold a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
A traditional grand opening activity for brick-and-mortar businesses, a ribbon cutting ceremony honors the official launch of your new business and offers attendees a memorable activity to associate with your brand. Including a ribbon cutting ceremony in your grand opening lineup gives the community a specific time and place to appear in support of your small business and creates a newsworthy moment to attract press coverage.
9. Create a Hashtag
Every new brand wants to create buzz on social media channels, and a hashtag is one of the most effective ways to go viral. Create a branded hashtag to promote your grand opening, and be sure to start using it before the event. Be sure the hashtag is shared and promoted by you, your business partners, employees, supporters and customers before and after the small business’s grand opening to generate brand awareness. To generate extra buzz, create a discount or other customer loyalty award for those who share the hashtag.
10. Give Away Free Swag
In case we didn’t already mention it, people love free stuff. There’s a reason you can find pretty much any type of merchandise printed with somebody’s brand on it, and it’s not because businesses are feeling charitable. Handing out promotional products, AKA swag, at your event is a marketing gift that keeps on giving. As the products are used over time, they serve as additional advertising and promotion for the brand. Plus, promoting free swag is an effective way to draw a bigger crowd to your grand opening event.
11. Hold a Soft Launch
Want to be sure your grand opening event goes off without a hitch? Hold a soft opening for a practice round first, inviting just a few family, friends and close associates. A soft launch is a trial run of a grand opening that allows a new business owner to practice the event without the fear of losing potential customers over mistakes and errors. Soft opening attendees, however, should be relied upon to offer honest feedback so you can improve on your main event.
12. Promote a Social Media Event
A physical grand opening isn’t right for every business. After all, many modern small businesses have no physical location and might never come into physical contact with customers. Online businesses and those small business owners who want a grand opening without the physical fuss can host social media events to recognize their launches. Creating a Facebook event where you regularly post updates about your business’s opening is one way to create buzz, and a social media event can also be used for extra promotion in conjunction with other grand opening festivities.