So you’ve successfully set up your business and everything’s in place, from securing the right permits to furnishing the perfect location. And now comes the highly awaited and most exciting part of owning a business – the opening day. But before you open your doors to the public, be sure to strategize to make a strong long-lasting impression.
The main purpose of a grand opening event is to introduce your business to the community. You want to attract as much attention as possible and create enough media buzz to keep your business in the limelight. Here are some grand opening ideas for small businesses to ensure a solid, successful and exciting event.
1. Have a party
This is the perfect time to throw a party – after all, it is the opening day of your dream business. Having a party isn’t just about fun and laughter, it’s also a great way to publicize your event leading to increased visibility, brand awareness, and repeat customers. But before you throw a fabulous party, don’t forget to obtain permission from your landlord or a permit from local authorities to make your event legally recognized.
There are many ways to organize a great party. You could rent a stage, rope off the area, decorate it with balloons, and hire a performer that fits with the profile of your target audience. In addition, make sure to advertise your grand opening party by handing out flyers days before the event, especially in the local neighborhood to build curiosity amongst the community. Share the opening details on your social media account and invite as many friends and family as possible. Follow these tips for a stress-free grand opening:
- Decide on the type of event and allocate the necessary budget.
- Consider everything and include even the smallest detail.
- Allocate at least two to three months of preparation.
- Perform a trial run days or weeks before the big event.
- Make sure that the theme of the event is relevant to your business.
2. Have a free demo or workshop event
Another great grand opening idea for small businesses is to offer a free demonstration or a promotion for discounted workshops. Who doesn’t love heavily discounted or even free services for a limited time only? Most people argue that offering free services during a grand opening day is a cliché method of attracting customers, but, with its extremely positive outcome, you can’t argue its proven success rate.
Whether it’s free samples, souvenir items, umbrellas, t-shirts, or other promotional giveaways, everyone loves freebies. Use this appeal and entice people to try your products or services for free on the day of your grand opening. Set up huge banners and use advertising materials to convey your message and build awareness.
- Make sure that the free offer or discounted service is free of hidden charges.
- State your limitations, terms, and conditions clearly before starting the service.
- Free services don’t have to be anything major; they can be small services that you can afford.
- If you can’t offer free services, give discounts of up to 75% off the real price.
- Try something catchy and unique such as bundling an item to win a free service.
3. Make your grand opening longer than a day
One-day grand openings are fantastic, but turning it into a three-day event is even better. Extending your grand opening day allows patrons who couldn’t make it to the event to come and visit your new business as soon as they’re available. It keeps the hype strong, allowing your products and services to be introduced steadily in the market.
The best way to do this is to extend your grand opening during weekends. For example, instead of having a Friday-only opening day run it until Sunday. This allows people who work during the weekdays to attend your event without forcing them to go on one particular day. And if you’re brave enough, you could make it a week-long special or even a month to increase the roster of your potential customers.
- Continue offering special discounts and promotional items for a week or a month.
- Provide unique activities and run different events each day to avoid monotony.
- Offer customer-oriented programs such as memberships and loyalty discounts.
- Keep up your enthusiasm and energy during the entire course of your grand opening.
4. Invite special guests
Continuing these grand opening ideas for small businesses, you’ll want your event to be as big and impressive as possible but without spending too much money out of pocket. Inviting special guests and prominent personalities can be a good way to make this happen. They add to the glam of your opening day and their star power helps make the occasion feel even more special. If your stage is located on the high street, having special guests grace your event will even attract a huge crowd and possibly even some attention from the media.
Special guests don’t always have to be local artists. It could be the city mayor, a council member or a prominent member of society. And if your budget permits, you can hire popular performers to entertain and draw in more people. Make sure that your guests are related to your business. For example, if you sell sportswear, it’s more appropriate to invite a sports team or athlete rather than hiring a rock band.
- If you know someone popular in the industry, ask for their help and assistance.
- Ask your suppliers if they can sponsor a guest or similar attraction for your event.
- Politicians and prominent personalities are great for ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
- Broadcast a press release and mention the arrival of your special guest.
- Create a backup plan should the unexpected happen and your guest doesn’t show up.
5. Have a sale to support your events
The last of these grand opening ideas for small businesses is to have a sale to support your grand opening day. If marketed properly, the word “sale” alone is a surefire way to attract dozens of people. In-store promotions help support all the effort you’ve made for the event to be successful. Keep in mind that word-of-mouth is free and powerful, and customers telling others that they’ve found a great deal in your shop will definitely create a following.
It’s important to make sure that you wisely select the products you’ll marking as “sale” items and do not include all items, otherwise, your grand opening could result in a loss rather than be lucrative. Additionally, the sale items should be interesting and useful for the customer. During the grand opening day, you should:
- Put up “sale” signs in the most accessible and viewable location.
- If you have a website, almost half of your homepage should display the sale event.
- Create mechanics or qualifiers such as buy one get item free or buy one and save XX discount.
- Make sure that you will make a profit from the sale, even at a lower percentage.
- Hand out your business card to every customer that walks into your shop.