One of the most exciting events in your life will be opening your own business. There’s a wholesome pride in creating something and then sharing it with the world. All of your hard work behind the scenes will pay off in a big way once you finally cut the ribbon to your new business, so why not make it a grand affair?
Perhaps you’re not sure where to get started, so I’ve compiled a list of my 25 favorite resources for opening your business in style. This list will make it easy for your company to shine during your grand opening, and to generate lingering buzz after the fact. If you haven’t already make sure to also read our Ultimate Guide To Grand Openings.
Before the Grand Opening
By Luanne Kelchner. The absolute first thing you should do, after realizing you want to host a grand opening, is to set a budget. Grand openings are part of your marketing budget. Some things to consider for your grand opening budget include extra staffing, decorations, and refreshments.
There’s no need to skywrite about your grand opening. You can start with something as simple as a flyer. Flyers are a fantastic way to saturate your target community with news of your new business. Be short, concise, and include important information, such as your address, the date and time of your grand opening, and maybe even a map. Bonus points if you include a promotion on your flyer.
By Alli Worthington. At first blush, you may think, what does this have to do with a grand opening? Well, the answer is, blogging is part of your marketing campaign. Start blogging long before you set a grand opening. The point is to get customers engaged and excited about your business. In your blog, you’ll share progress reports, and other information relevant to your business. Most importantly, you’ll set up your blog to create a mailing list, which is golden when the time comes to invite customers to your grand opening.
This goes hand-in-hand with the above resource. These days, creating an online presence–regardless of your business type–is crucial to success. Many potential customers like to check you out online before visiting your grand opening, just to find out more about you. Be ready for them.
Bing is the second largest search engine in the world and can drive a lot of traffic to your business. Because most advertisers are focused on Google, you may also be able to acquire clients on Bing at a lower cost. Try Bing Ads Today With a Free $50 Ads Coupon.
By Dave Carter. Now that you’ve amassed a decent mailing list through blogging, leverage it. This article explains how to craft your email to get maximum click-throughs.
By Charles Gaudet. All of us are acquainted with direct mail, also known less-affectionately as junk mail. You’ve worked hard to create the perfect grand opening letter, don’t let it end up unread in the trash. This article discusses how to ensure that 99% of recipients read your mail.
By Sarah Johnson. Social media is an indispensable part of your marketing plan. Not only is it free, it’s an extremely easy way to build momentum for your grand opening.
By K. Shelby Skrhak. One sure-fire way to get attention for your business is with a daily deals site. Think Groupon or Living Social. These sites have millions of subscribers. Use their popularity to your advantage by creating a grand opening special that will lure in a crowd.
By David Frey. It’s classic quid pro quo. You partner with a charity to market your business. The charity gets more funding and recognition, you get applauded for your philanthropy by customers who are now more willing to buy from you. Prominently feature your charity in your grand opening–make it a part of festivities. Perhaps, invite the charity and publicly donate to its cause.
By David Waring. A press release is a great way to get your story to as many press outlets as possible. Follow these steps to create a press release.
By Kerry McDuling. Journalists love a story. If you’ve followed the charity marketing step above, you’ll have the perfect angle to generate buzz for your grand opening–inform the local media that you will be including a fundraiser or charity event during your grand opening.
By Shari Waters. Of course, newspaper ads are another source of promotion. Follow this article for the basics on creating an ad for your grand opening.
If you definitely don’t want to be ignored, take out a billboard! A certain retail store in my area announced their grand opening on several billboards, and sure enough, I went just to see what all the fuss was about. It may be a grandiose notion, but it will definitely reach some potential customers who may not have attended your grand opening otherwise.
By Rodney Miller. Before you do a grand opening, it’s a good idea to do a soft one. Soft openings allow you to test out everything before you open your doors to the masses.
Managing the Grand Opening
Planning is everything, and you can never be too planned. There’s no virtue in spontaneity when you’re juggling potential customers, staff, your product, media, and your nerves. This guide helps you organize your grand opening and anticipate problems.
From a customer’s perspective, there’s nothing worse than an under-prepared or discourteous staff. Prepare your staff (and have ample staff in attendance) with the answers to the questions in this article.
By Crystal Ray. Balloons, signs, and creative merchandising are all powerful ways to decorate your business for a grand opening. You want customers to feel excited and informed by your choice of decorations.
By Carl Hose. Few things excite the masses more than free food. Whether it’s popcorn or barbecue, be prepared to offer something in the way of food and refreshments. Food encourages the crowd linger longer, increasing the odds of making a sale.
By Betsey Demitropoulos. There are many reasons to join your local chamber of commerce, including networking opportunities and credibility in your community. Of course, one of the best reasons is to secure a ribbon cutting ceremony for your grand opening. Not only that, but the chamber of commerce often alerts media on ribbon cutting ceremonies, so you have an extra avenue to press.
By Linda Thomas. Generate excitement for your grand opening by setting up a radio remote. Radio remotes are perfect for grand openings because the radio personality is constantly plugging your event while its happening.
By Michelle Renee. Grand openings are even more grand when you have a celebrity. Think of all the attention you can attract. Be careful to invite a celebrity that makes sense to your brand, and be sure to plan ahead of time.
Make your customers remember you long after the grand opening is over. You want to give away promotional items that point back to you, but are also useful. Remember, a giveaway may not be material–it can be a digital download.
By Scott Kuhn. Having door prizes or giveaways are a sweet incentive to potential customers. This article is a guideline of how to set up your promotion legally and effectively. Use raffles as a way to get customers to fill out cards to be added to the mailing list.
By Dave Carter. During your grand opening, or even during your soft opening, be sure to collect testimonials from satisfied customers. Use comment cards or even set up a camera to interview customers about their experience at your grand opening. Save it for your blog or your future newsletter.
After the Grand Opening
By Betsey Gallop. Use your mailing list obtained from your raffle and your blog to send “Thank You” notes to your customers. It refreshes your business in their minds. It’s also a good idea to send out a newsletter with photos from your grand opening, and an additional press release for the media.