Grand Reopening: Create the Hype You Need to Make Your First Day a Success

Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

A store owner turns an open sign for her grand reopening celebration.

Closing on your new business is a major achievement. Celebrate it by planning a grand reopening event that reintroduces your business to your community.

In this guide, we'll show you some strategies for making this big day a success.

 

Strategy 1: Plan to start with a soft reopening

In the days or weeks leading up to your grand reopening, think about holding a soft reopening. Open your doors or website to a select group of friends and family members who will give you feedback on the look, feel, and experience of your business as it currently stands.

Here’s how:

  • If your business has a physical location, invite your soft reopening audience inside to meet your team, sample products, and place orders.
  • If your business is conducted remotely, invite your audience to visit your website or social media pages and talk to your customer service team.

 

Ask for feedback from every person who participates. Start by asking what they think of your product or service offerings. Then, ask about the interactions they had with your team. You can also ask about the specific parts of your operations that may need some tweaking. Use the feedback as you plan updates, improvements, and sweeping changes to help your business thrive.

 

Strategy 2: Connect with a SCORE mentor

SCORE is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that pairs expert business mentors with small business owners. By connecting with a SCORE mentor who's experienced in your field, you can obtain free, personalized advice that’s tailored to your business and set of goals.

One of the ways you can use the mentor program is for support and feedback as you take the reins of your operation and plan your reopening day event. You can share your plans, ask for suggestions, or allow your SCORE mentor to share their experiences and tell you what’s worked for them and others. Your SCORE mentor might share some ideas that had never occurred to you, and they may caution you against risky, costly reopening day moves that aren't likely to make an impact.

If you’d like to connect with a SCORE mentor, visit www.SCORE.org.

 

Strategy 3: Hire a marketing firm

Think about working with a marketing team that specializes in small business successes. You can ask for advice on announcing your opening, attracting customers, and planning a memorable event that will make your community excited about your arrival.

Some will offer you a consultation and provide you with steps you should take to make your opening day a success. Others will help you plan the event, invite key members of your community, and ensure that the right details are in place to make an impact. Both options should provide tremendous returns for your business. Choose the option that works best for you and your budget.

 

Strategy 4: Select the right date

Find the best day and time for your grand reopening celebration. One way to do this is by checking your town's calendar of events, sports schedules, road construction timelines, and other guides. These will help spot activities that may bring people close to your site or  keep them from attending your event.

For many businesses, weekends without a major sporting event or holiday are best for grand reopening celebrations.

 

Strategy 5: Connect with your community

Wondering how you'll build a buzz about your new ownership? One way is to get into the community and start spreading the word. Here are some ideas that could work for your business:

  • Sponsor a local team or co-host a community event to get exposure for your brand.
  • Offer samples or coupons for your products at other neighborhood events.
  • Talk about your grand opening with people you meet at other venues.

 

Simply being present and talking with people can help you build some excitement. But, sometimes, visuals and talking points can help you make an even greater impact. Here are some tips for creating a buzz:

  • Invite conversations about your business’s products or services. Keep the dialog focused on your potential customer’s preferences and not what you think of your products.
  • Ask for feedback on others' past experiences with the brand. Then, invite them to experience it in its newest form.
  • Talk about the specials that will take place during your reopening day event. You might also mention the discounts you're offering and how they provide a great way to try a product that others are buzzing about.
  • Bring signs, catalogs, or promotional materials that will leave a lasting visual impression on your audience.

 

Strategy 6: Work your platforms

Create or make use of the business’s social media accounts leading up to your big event. Share updates of your remodeling projects, tease giveaways, and offer reopening day coupons for people who like and share your page.

Be sure that every photo, video, and message you share does something more than inform your audience. Try to build suspense and excitement over what’s to come. Here are a few ideas for killer social media posts:

  • Share photos of local tastemakers and influencers sampling (and loving!) your products.
  • Allow your social media followers to select your next giveaway (from a set of pre-selected options).
  • Offer fun, engaging, and easy-to-enter contests with unique prizes. These could include personalized shopping experiences, a VIP parking spot for your reopening day event, or a basket of samples delivered to a customer’s place of work.

 

 

Strategy 7: Invite key people in your community to attend your grand reopening

Ask several well-known people in your area to attend your reopening day event. Many political figures (including the mayor, city council members, and political candidates), art icons, and others may show an interest. This is often the case when you can offer some of the following incentives:

  • An opportunity to be photographed cutting the ribbon to your newly owned business
  • An opportunity to be part of an event giving part of its proceeds to a popular charitable organization—and, more so, to be the person who delivers an oversized check to it
  • The chance to connect with and speak to a large audience
  • An opportunity to feature or sell artwork, play a gig, or demonstrate a talent in front of an audience

 

After confirming their attendance, promote the news on your social media platforms. You could also reach out to local media outlets that may send reporters, photographers, or videographers to cover your event. Representatives from newspapers, television stations, and radio stations will want a few weeks of notice to plan to attend your event. Most will also appreciate a reminder several days before it occurs.

 

Strategy 8: Build a buzz with your neighbors

If you have a physical storefront, reach out to the owners of businesses that neighbor yours. Share your plans for reopening day, and invite them to plan events at the same time to benefit from your influx of customers—and draw an even wider audience to your block. You may also want to offer your neighbors an ongoing friends-and-family discount to build goodwill with them.

Any steps you take to join forces with the owners around you can pay off in big ways. This is especially true if those businesses have a great reputation in your neighborhood. Demonstrate that you'll be a good, considerate, and generous neighbor, and many will reciprocate.

 

Strategy 9: Put your friends and family to work

Ask your friends and family members to help you hype your business. Beyond asking them to show up on your reopening day, encourage them to share your social media pages and tell others about your new business. You might also hand some of them a stack of coupons to share with their network. Be sure to reward them with discounts or free gear for showing support for your business.

 

Strategy 10: Advertise

Look into the costs of advertising your opening on popular radio stations, in your city’s newspaper, in local magazines, and through targeted mailers. Many media outlets offer low-cost options to promote your business. Some may even be willing to negotiate a discount.

You can get great exposure for your business through paid advertisements on social media platforms, too. Be strategic about where you advertise. Many new owners see great results by focusing their ad efforts on Facebook and Nextdoor. But, of course, you should consider the other platforms your audience is likely to use, too.

 

 

Remember that ad space is finite. You have a limited amount of time or space to share your message. Use it to share a unique, memorable message with your market and include the details of your grand reopening event.

 

Strategy 11: Set the stage

After making updates to your location, you can set up some signs, balloons, and other decorations that’ll make your place of business feel like a fun place to spend time. Here are some options you might consider:

  • A large banner on your storefront announcing your opening day
  • A quippy message on a sidewalk sign or a sign near the road that will catch passersby’s attention
  • Balloons, flowers, and decorations that set the right tone for your business
  • Fun, upbeat music from a live band or DJ
  • Low-mess refreshments for attendees
  • Parking lot inflatables or games
  • Tables set up with grab bags and sign-up sheets for giveaways
  • Frequent contests with great prizes on display
Too often, attendees show up for reopening day amenities without spending any time in the business. Here's a great strategy to avoid this. Set up the refreshment stands, games, and activities in front of the store but require attendees to get a free ticket from a counter inside your business.

 

Likewise, you should consider placing sign-up tables and contest sheets at the back of your store to encourage attendees to experience your store, see more of your products, and possibly make some purchases while they enjoy the free amenities.

Use these eleven tips to reintroduce your business to your target market and leave a lasting impression on your customers.

 

What’s next?

After your grand reopening, you’re ready to embark on the work of running your business, managing your team, and exploring growth opportunities. We can help you every step of the way. Log into your owner’s portal for strategies and support you can use to make your new business a lasting success.

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