Best Practices

Loudoun SourceLink: How to Have a Successful Grand Opening

Published Mar 09, 2015

by: Lois Kirkpatrick

You've worked hard for a long time to get your business off the ground. Finally, you're ready for your grand opening. How can you get customers to come to your big event, and make it so unique that the press wants to cover it?

First of all, do something more memorable than just a ribbon-cutting. Offer a hands-on activity, or stage a photo that will go viral on social media.

For example, Top of the Podium is agrand opening state-of-the-art youth wrestling facility. For their grand opening, instead of just a ribbon-cutting, they offered activities that let kids who'd never wrestled before experience the sport for the first time.

That’s the kind of grand opening that gets parents and kids to invite their friends to the event, post photos on social media, and talk about it afterward. The result is free publicity for your business.

The best kind of grand opening will allow guests to interact with your product or service. When Easterns Automotive had their grand opening, they invited attendees to take selfies in beautifully restored classic autos, and drive around the lot in sleek, high-end sports cars.

Opening a pet-related business? Host a dog show at your grand opening. Do you sell food? Offer a month's worth of free items to people who agree to camp out in line for your grand opening. Does your company have anything to do with clothes? Give a seminar on how to dress for success, or have a photographer take glamour shots of teens wearing your outfits.

If you don't sell anything tangible, you can get publicity for your grand opening by partnering with a nonprofit organization. That's what SpeedPro Imaging did when they announced their year-long partnership with Loudoun Interfaith Relief at their grand opening recently.

When your nonprofit partner invites their supporters to your grand opening, it can result in a lot more people attending your event. And if you plan something unique and engaging for them to do while they’re there, they’ll tell their friends about it and you’ll get free publicity for your business. Everybody wins!

Photo courtesy Microsoft clip art

Content contributed by Lois Kirkpatrick of Loudoun SourceLink, a proud affiliate of U.S. SourceLink, America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.