After months of research, preparation and hard work, it’s finally here – the grand opening for your business. It’s the day when you formally open your doors to customers and start making money.
But what else do you need to do on this day aside from cutting that ribbon with those oversized scissors?
The grand opening for your business is more than just a day for celebration. It’s also a chance for you to make the best impression to the community, to get people talking about your business and to drive customers into your new store. In short, it is your first major marketing event.
So how do you effectively hold a business grand opening? Here are some things you should keep in mind when planning for your business debut.
- Soft opening: Some entrepreneurs like doing a soft opening to ensure that all systems in the business are running smoothly before going on full operation. If you plan to do this, then hold a simple soft-opening party and invite your family, friends and close business contacts. This will build anticipation in them for the grand opening and create initial buzz among your social circle.
- Announcements: Announce the exact date of your grand opening a week or two before. Display visually interesting signs and banners that catch attention. This will gain the interest of the public and, hopefully, some local press. Print out flyers and distribute them to the community. If you have the budget, advertise in your local newspaper or lease a billboard in your area.
- Invitations: Send out invitations not only to friends, but more importantly to your business contacts, especially suppliers and potential clients. This is great in establishing a good professional relationship with them and encouraging initial transactions and sales.
- Media: Send out a press release. Invite local newspapers and magazines to do a feature article on your new business. The same goes if you have local radio and television channels. Give them a reason your grand opening is newsworthy and why your business is a good feature topic. And don’t forget to invite influencers and bloggers to attend the launch.
Grand opening activities
If you’ve done your homework, then you can expect a lot of people coming to your business groundbreaking. Now it’s time to make sure that they’ll enjoy their time during the event. Aside from food and entertainment, make a short program that will introduce your business to the guests, tell the inspiration of the business, it’s mission and vision, and relate to them why they should support your products and services.
It’s optional but highly recommended that you provide your guests something to take home with them. These can be press kits, business profile and product lists, and some free goodies, which can be gift certificates or discount coupons. The objective here is not only to make the event more memorable but also to encourage them to return to your business no longer as a guest, but as a customer.
It doesn’t matter if your business is an office inside a corporate building or a retail shop at the mall, a grand opening is an important part of starting a business. And it doesn’t have to be as grand as it says nor as elaborate as it sounds.
It can just be a simple gathering if you really want it that way – for in the end, a business launch is really more than just a marketing event – it’s actually your first symbolic pat on the back, for a job well done.