Setting up a new business is a lot of work, from securing the right permits and licenses, to finding the perfect location, to getting a company logo for the new business. Now that the hard part is over, you can focus on your highly-awaited opening day.
But, before you open your doors, you need to have a plan in place to ensure success in the long-run.
For small business owners, the purpose of a grand opening event is to introduce your company, and its products or services, to the community. You want to attract as much attention as possible and create enough buzz to draw in customers.
Of course, this is easier said than done. We’ve put together five grand opening ideas for small businesses that are sure to lead to a solid, successful and exciting event.
1. Have a party
People love a party, and it’s the perfect time to celebrate-- after all, it’s your big day. Having a party for your grand opening isn’t just about having fun, it’s also a great way to draw attention to your business, leading to increased visibility, brand awareness, and repeat customers.
But, keep in mind, if you’re throwing a party at your store you might to get permission from your landlord or obtain a permit from local authorities first. So do your research, the last thing you want is for your party to get shut down.
There are many ways to throw a great party. You could rent a stage, put up some festive decorations, and hire a performer that fits with the profile of your target audience.
Decide on the type of event and allocate a budget.
Plan ahead for every scenario, including the smallest details.
Give yourself at least two to three months to prepare.
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 demo or offer promotional products. Who doesn’t love discounted or free services? Whether it’s free samples, souvenir items, umbrellas, t-shirts, or other giveaways, everyone loves freebies. It’s a surefire way to get more customers through the door.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when offering promotions during your grand opening:
Make sure that your offers or services are free of hidden charges.
Clearly state any limitations, terms, and conditions before starting the service.
Don’t go outside your budget, offer something small that you can afford.
If you can’t offer free services, give discounts instead.
Try something catchy and unique such as bundling items 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 can be even better. Extending your grand opening 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 going, allowing your products and services to be introduced steadily in the market.
The best way to do this is to extend your grand opening into the weekend. For example, instead of having a Friday-only opening, run it until Sunday. This allows people who work during the week 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 to increase the roster of your potential customers. Keep in mind:
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
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 from your community can be a good way to make this happen. Their star power can help make the occasion feel even more special, and may even attract the attention of the local 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 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 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 attraction for your event.
Politicians and prominent personalities are great for ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
Create a press release to draw attention to the arrival of your special guest.
Create a backup plan in case your guest can’t make it.
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 event. If marketed properly, the word “sale” alone can 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 help create a loyal customer base.
It’s important to make sure that you carefully select the specific products you’ll marking as “sale” items, otherwise, your grand opening could result in a loss. Additionally, the sale items should be interesting and useful for the customer. During the grand opening day, you should:
Put up “sale” signs in highly-visible locations.
If you have a website, almost half of your homepage should display the sale event.
Create qualifiers such as, “buy one get one free”, or “buy one and save X percent”.
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 through the door.
The key takeaway
Opening a business is an exciting time, you’ve put a lot of hard work and dedication into this, now it’s time to celebrate. Keep these five simple tips in mind when planning your grand opening and you’re sure to have a successful event.
While everyone is celebrating make sure you have peace-of-mind by having the right insurance policies in place. Policies like General Liability and Commercial Property will protect you, and your hard-earned business assets against any claims. Not sure what kind of coverage you need? Download this free guide to learn more.