Much of our clientele here at American Heritage are small to medium sized business owners. Many people choose to start their own businesses and have no idea where to start once the planning is done and it’s time to actually open for business. Here are some tips from The Business Journal on what you can do to make your grand opening stand out.
- Flash mobs that walk around and act like customers or dance to turn up the fun.
- Bouncy houses, clowns, face painters and storyteller for family-friendly businesses that cater to children of all ages.
- Guided tours of your establishment are a must. Regardless of the size of your store, you want to make sure visitors are able to easily navigate your store and find the products they want. Guided tours will also provide you with feedback about the design of your store.
- Freebies and samples. Don’t shy away from free samples. Billions of dollars in perfumes and skin care products have been sold on the strength of a packaged sample or free skin care services. Even powerhouse brands like Starbucks encourage stores to provide free cups of a new coffee blend or a free taste of pastries. Freebies and samples work. Not only do people love the idea of getting something free, but offering visitors a “sneak peek” at the quality of your products can create a craving that turns a visitor into a loyal customer.
- Offer deep discounts off your regular prices for customers who patronize your business during the grand opening. Department stores regularly run television ads promoting Memorial Day sales or 30 percent off the entire store for the grand opening of a new location. Follow their time-tested lead. Discounts are a powerful incentive.
- Hire some live entertainment. If the flash mob is coming, perhaps you want them to organize their performance right in front of the deejay booth or in front of the stage where you’ve hired a hot local band to perform. The good thing about this is local acts are always looking to garner support and usually promote their performances using a marketing engine of their own. The more people you invite to participate in the grand opening, the better your turnout will probably be.
- Celebrity autographs.You can find reasonably well-known actors, musicians and comedians on television promoting everything from low-rate auto insurance to slip-and-fall attorneys. If you can grab a celebrity to participate in your grand opening by engaging with visitors, you can increase brand awareness and boost your credibility.
- DIY and how-to classes. Craft stores and home improvement stores regularly offer Saturday classes for savvy do-it-yourselfers. Think about offering a similar service during the grand opening. Try to come up with something that is of interest to your demographic. Make it worth their while to show up.
- Prize drawings. Those “first 100 people through the door” gimmicks work. People like being first. They like receiving special treatment. They like feeling as if they got a good deal. Again, make sure the prize you give away is compelling enough to draw people into the grand opening. The idea of winning a free car, new kitchen or a $500 gas card is far more interesting than gift certificates to the new Avengers movie or a free wash at the local auto spa.
- A ribbon-cutting ceremony is a popular choice for high-profile new businesses. This includes newly constructed stores, housing developments, churches, schools, and other new construction projects. If you can get a well-known (and hopefully well-liked) public official to take part, holding and publicizing a ribbon cutting ceremony for your business can be a good way to generate positive buzz.
No matter what you choose, just be sure to make your opening day into an event. As noted in this Fit Small Business article, one of the most exciting events in your life will be opening your own business, so why not make it a grand affair?