11 grand opening ideas for small businesses

Nick A. | September 10, 2021
8 mins

Launching your new business is an event worthy of celebration! Mark the occasion with a grand opening that not only uplifts your accomplishment, but also brings curious customers right to your door.

A grand opening helps your small business reach consumers who might not otherwise know about your products or services. Some of these consumers might need exactly what you offer, and with the grand opening ideas listed below, you’ll be especially likely to reach them.

'We're open' signboard.
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

How grand openings help increase brand awareness

One of the main ways that grand openings boost a business’s profile is by helping to build brand awareness. Here are three big ways these events make an impact:

  • They help get the word out. Oftentimes, customers make multiple touch points with a company before making a purchase. A grand opening event creates yet another unique touch point. When coupled with a good website, social media, and other forms of advertising, this can help reinforce brand awareness.
  • They create excitement around your business. A grand opening is a great way to show attentive newcomers that your products or services are different from others in the neighborhood.
  • They help build relationships. Nothing replaces a one-on-one meeting. Take advantage of a grand opening to connect with customers. Let them get to know you as a business owner and not just as a company.
  • They help reinforce visual identity. Logos, brand colors, and other aspects of your brand’s visual identity come into play during a grand opening event. Passersby will see your logo on banners, brochures, giveaways, and store signage, among other places, quickly communicating what your brand is and what you do. Hopefully, that image sticks around, and customers can make a connection with your brand down the line.

11 grand opening ideas for small businesses

If you want to have a grand opening but you’re not sure where to start, these 11 ideas can get you on the right track:

1. Try a soft launch

A grand opening doesn’t necessarily have to be grand. Instead of making a big fuss with signs, decorations, and lots of spending, just open your doors to a smaller crowd than usual. This crowd could comprise family and friends, local residents, or prominent local community members whom you invite to discuss how your company can help your neighborhood. The latter option also shows that you care about your community, which is highly effective in marketing.

blue 'Open' signboard
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

2. Host your grand opening on social media

Social media grand openings are also equally apt for storefronts and home businesses. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube live streaming opportunities are a highly convenient alternative to in-person events, and their potential reach isn’t limited by geography. 

Try hosting a live-stream grand opening with activities in which the audience can participate. Do your best to make sure these activities are related to your products or services. This way, your local and national audiences learn about your business as they have fun with you. This approach can result in a meaningful customer experience that leads to sales.

3. Offer goodie bags

Remember when you were a kid and every party ended with a goodie bag you got to take home? You can spark that joy for customers of all ages with grand opening goodie bags. Fill your goodie bags with things that evoke memories of those childhood parties — candy, small toys — and branded items. After you design a logo, you can have it printed onto sunglasses, water bottles, pens, and more, and neatly fill each bag with items your customers will use time and again. Don’t forget to create a business card and include it in the bag so attendees have contact information for your business!

pink open giftbag
Photo by Happy Films on Unsplash

4. Make a pop-up appearance

Pop-up shops are based on the premise that you’ll only be operating for a brief time. This time-limited setup does wonders for engaging people in the moment, and this engagement is exactly what your new business needs to get started among much buzz and excitement.

To participate, check out pop-up events near your location hosted by the town, a venue, or a different organization. Sign up and bring your wares to spread the word about your business. If you’re an online-only business, you can also inquire about empty retail storefronts and see if you can secure a short-term lease there to host your pop-up shop. You may also be able to share or sublease space from another like-minded business.

5. Set up a table outside your store

Place a table outside your storefront and staff it to encourage passersby to come inside. You can give out perks like coupons or free samples to encourage them to explore what you offer.

This approach builds engagement by meeting customers where they are, and then doubles down by spreading the news about your new business.

table with free snacks and a free taste signage
Photo by Kenneth Carpina from Pexels

6. Consider a publicity stunt (but be careful)

Publicity stunts are a double-edged sword when it comes to grand opening ideas. On one hand, successful publicity stunts can go nationally viral and build you a massive audience beyond your backyard. On the other hand, they could make your brand look foolish if the stunt appears overly staged, stifled, or just inconsiderate. Review some successful publicity stunt examples before exploring this grand opening option.

7. Invite a local celebrity or politician to speak

Perhaps someone influential in your region has an ethos or aesthetic in line with your brand. Having this local celebrity or politician like a council member speak at your grand opening event can draw large crowds and potentially convert attendees to customers. If you do secure a local celebrity for your event, don’t be shy about advertising their appearance on your website and social media channels (with their permission, of course). Consider posting flyers with the celebrity’s face, name, and speech time as well.

8. Set up a giveaway

By setting up a social media or in-store giveaway as you first open, you give community members a chance to try your product before buying it. If they like it, they might tell others about how exciting it was to win one of your items for free. In terms of marketing for companies of all stripes, this word-of-mouth, trust-based approach is hard to beat.

9. Give out freebies 

Who doesn’t love free stuff? That’s why free samples for everyone, not just giveaway winners, are great for elevating your grand opening. Even better is arranging for free items from a trusted local name in exchange for something you provide this entity. 

If you’re around the corner from a beloved local bakery, ask the bakery if they’d want to supply free cupcakes in exchange for free advertising in your storefront windows. If you’re friends with a local coffee shop owner, have them pour some cold brew in exchange for some sort of free advertising. In making the event more enjoyable for attendees and linking your company with a trusted local name, you prime yourself for a strong initial customer base.

10. Raise funds for a local nonprofit

As mentioned earlier, caring about your local community is a great way to convince customers to trust your company. Holding a fundraiser for a local nonprofit is one of the best ways to do this at a grand opening event. 

To attend your event, have guests pay a small fee. Then, funnel all your ticket payments to the nonprofit. You should also keep your event space filled with branded merchandise that links your name with the nonprofit. You’ll both establish a meaningful community presence and advance your brand with local customers.

person holding a donation box
Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels

11. Stick to traditional media

At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with hosting a classic grand opening — balloons, signs, all kinds of visual stimuli — and marketing it via traditional routes. Newspapers ads, flyers around town, and other traditional methods are valid, if not simple, approaches for getting people into your space on your first day. Plus, there’s a reason these methods are traditional — they’ve proven successful time and again.

A great grand opening gets your company off on the right foot

With these grand opening ideas, you can position your company for success as quickly as possible. Each of these ideas can create a customer impression that lasts long after the event and organically builds customer loyalty. They’re also largely predicated on the notion that you’ll have branded merchandise to offer — and on that front, Namecheap can help.

With Namecheap’s visual maker, you can quickly design logos, business cards, and a company website that brings your operation to life. You don’t need any design skills — just enter your preferences and let Namecheap guide you through the process. Before you know it, you’ll have everything you need to make the most of your grand opening. Get started with the Namecheap visual maker to take another step toward a perfect grand opening event.


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Nick A.

Nick Allen is a writer, photographer, and content marketer. He’s also the founder of BrainBoost Media, a boutique content and operations studio. With a wide range of interests, he enjoys reading and writing about sports, entrepreneurship, and start-ups.

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