Starting a business is no small feat! It makes sense that you would want to have a grand opening event to introduce your business to the world. It’s a great way to celebrate all your hard work and effort and also create awareness for your business and give your community a chance to get to know you. There are plenty of different ways you can go about hosting a grand opening and it’s never too early to start brainstorming ideas. This guide will walk you through the process of hosting a grand opening and offer some ideas for what kind of party will help you reap the most benefits.

Planning

Planning ahead is crucial when you are thinking about grand opening ideas for your small business. In order to make sure the event is a success, you should think about what goals you are hoping to achieve with it.

  • Brand awareness – In addition to providing a super fun event for attendees, your opening should also double as extra PR. Use it to communicate info about what your business does and what you have to offer. Make sure that your branding is consistent across materials – from signage, to business cards, to your website, etc.
  • Differentiate yourself – your opening is the perfect time to show customers why you stand out and why what you’re offering is different/better than your competition! The more valuable information you can convey to attendees, the more of a success your opening will be.
  • Engage customers – Launching a business is all about creating meaningful relationships with your customers and your community. Your opening can be a wonderful way to tap into the needs of your community and help you establish relationships with other businesses and residents of the area.

Make sure that you leave plenty of time for planning your opening. In the early stages you can focus on the following tasks:

  • Your Budget – Keep in mind that you might be tight on cash in the first months of opening your business. You don’t want to cut corners on your opening party but take an honest look at your business forecasts and try to set a reasonable budget for what you can afford. And keep in mind that last minute expenses are hard to avoid so try to pad the budget a little to account for unforeseen costs.
  • Stay on Schedule – Treat the grand opening preparation just as you would any other job. Set timetables and assign specific tasks to people so that nothing falls through the cracks. Try to think ahead to every little detail that you’ll need to address beforehand, including finding a venue, hiring staff and caterers, publicizing the event, applying for permits, choosing the best date, etc. Let no detail go unnoticed! Make sure that whoever you bring on to help with the planning and execution is someone who is familiar with your business and will be helpful and courteous.

Promoting

Consider all the ways that you can make your audience aware of your event. Designing flyers and coupons can be very effective, just make sure to leave time for the artwork and printing. Social media is an excellent way to promote a grand opening. If you already have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers, take advantage of these audiences by creating a hashtag campaign that they can share. And don’t forget about traditional media such as local newspapers, TV ads and radio spots.

  • Influencers – In addition to getting potential customers to your opening, it’s also a good idea to get in touch with influencers in your area. This can be anyone from thought leaders in your industry to local politicians or other big names in your community.
  • Lead Generation – The grand opening is a party but it’s also a way to make sure that new business starts rolling in. Make sure you plan for different ways you can stay in touch with people after they come to your event. You can ask for email addresses, promote your social media networks and ask them to follow you, offer special promotional deals, etc.

List of Grand Opening Ideas for Your Business

Before you get too deep into the planning stages, you have to decide which type of launch event will be best for your business. Take a look at some of these ideas and consider which one will help you achieve your biggest goals.

  1. Fundraiser – Partnering with a charity is a great way to get people excited about a party and also create good associations with your business. You can choose a charity that is likely to be meaningful for your audience in order to encourage more people to come celebrate with you.
  2. Throwback Party – Depending on the demographic of your audience, you can choose a decade or era that would be fun for them to recreate, such as an 80s Prom, Western style, Flapper era or another appropriate time period.
  3. Costume party – Everyone loves a chance to dress up! You can use the grand opening for your small business as an opportunity to host a costume contest. Attendees can vote on the best costumes and you can provide a prize for the winner.
  4. Concert – Hosting a concert is another way to attract new audiences. Whether it’s a local act, a more well-known performer (if you can afford it) or a tribute band, live music is a great way to break the ice and create a memorable event.
  5. Goody Bags – You can host an informational event and offer treat bags to people who attend, just like they do at the Oscars. The bag contents can be fun swag from yours and other local businesses. Make sure to brand your items so you make the most of the marketing opportunity!
  6. Raffle a Getaway – Find local businesses you can team up with to offer a free weekend getaway. This could be with a boutique hotel in your area or another business geared toward tourism that is looking to promote themselves and develop valuable partnerships.
  7. Amazing Discounts – While you will probably already be offering coupons and other trial offers, your grand opening is a great opportunity to offer a ‘too good to be true’ deal just for folks who come out to celebrate with you. This could be as much as a 50% off or buy one get one free offer.
  8. Crafting – Giving your guests the opportunity to make something is also a compelling idea. You could have the art supplies you need to let them paint a watercolor, make cards for people at a nursing home, etc. Combining the arts and crafts elements with a connection to a local business or charity doubles the impact!
  9. Pop-Up Shop – Pop-up shops are very popular these days. If you can acquire the right permit, you can open a pop-up shop outside your store or in an area with a lot of foot traffic to entice people inside to look as your best products and talk to you personally.

These ideas should kick off some brainstorming that will help you start to plan and promote an amazing grand opening. Keep the promotion going throughout and after the event by posting photos, sending live tweets and keeping in touch with follow-up emails. Pulling off a fantastic grand opening party will help launch your business into success!

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