Grand opening ideas

29 Proven Grand Opening Ideas For Small Businesses

Your business’s grand opening is a very exciting — and important, and nerve-wracking — time. It’s vital to get it just right in order to set the best tone for your business going forward. Our experts have created a list of proven grand opening ideas for small businesses that will help you get the word out and host the best event possible.

Grand Opening Ideas For Small Businesses

1) Build Buzz With Social Media

Person recording a concert with her phone in a crowd

Social media is one of the best ways to reach a large audience for your grand opening. Spread the word via mainstays like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Snapchat, but don’t forget local social media apps as well.

2) Promote Your Grand Opening With Table Tents

Partnering with other local businesses to display table tents prior to your grand opening is a great way to build brand recognition and promote the big event at the same time.

3) Attempt To Break A Record

On the day of your grand opening, try to break a world record associated with your business. This is a great advertising point and a unique draw for your business that is sure to bring in plenty of observers (and maybe even participants).

Check out The Guinness World Records’ websites for help with business-related ideas.

4) Put Your Name On Promotional Products

Passing out promotional products with your name on them is a great idea whether you’re holding a grand opening or not. Use the promotional products before, during, and after the big day to keep your business at the top of everyone’s mind.

5) Don’t Neglect Traditional Media Channels

Business owner making a video as part of her grand opening ideas

Online social media is a powerful resource for advertising your grand opening, but don’t neglect traditional media outlets along the way.

TV, radio, newspapers, and other print media are still excellent ways to make sure as many people as possible know about your new business and your grand opening.

6) Pass Out Flyers

Posting flyers on telephone poles and on public bulletin boards has been around for a long time. It’s remained an advertising mainstay because it’s inexpensive and it works.

7) Organize A Fundraiser

Partnering with a local charity to raise funds for their endeavors is a great way to bring the socially conscious to your grand opening.

Pick a cause that is near and dear to your heart — or that benefits your local community — and donate the money from your grand opening to that organization.

8) Advertise On Custom Paper Cups

Arrange for local coffee shops, cafes, and other eateries to serve their drinks in custom-printed paper cups (with your information on them) as a way to advertise your grand opening.

They’ll be happy to reduce their costs for a time, and you’ll get some great publicity for your business.

9) Book A Band

Hire a band to play classic hits for your patrons on the day of your grand opening. Not only can you advertise the band beforehand to get people excited, but the sound and activity on the big day will also draw people to your event.

10) Hire A Caterer

If you’re opening a new restaurant or will offer munchies at your business, provide tasty treats from your menu as a sampling of what customers can expect.

But if you’re not involved in the food industry, hire a caterer to provide finger foods and other delicacies during your grand opening.

11) Catch People’s Attention With A Publicity Stunt

Fireworks coming from a boat as part of a business's grand opening ideas

Organizing a publicity stunt is an effective way to create buzz about your grand opening both before it occurs and while it’s going on. Choreograph a flash mob or create a human billboard, for example.

Whatever you choose, prominently feature your business name and information during the stunt to generate PR.

12) Harness The Power Of Nostalgia

Decades passed are a huge draw for many people. Harness the power of nostalgia and bring more people to your grand opening by holding a 70s, 80s, or 90s-themed grand opening.

Pick a decade that resonates with your target audience, and decorate with memorabilia from that era. Dress your staff in appropriate garb, and invite attendees to rock their best 80s hair or 70s disco clothes.

You can even take it one step further by booking a famous musical act (or tribute band) from that decade.

13) Pick A Theme

Theme parties are all the rage right now. You can use that popularity to your advantage by organizing your grand opening around a theme, like a favorite TV show or movie.


14) Schedule A Celebrity To Appear

People turn out in droves to see celebrities. Take advantage of that fact to draw people to your grand opening.

And don’t think you have to get a famous movie star to make this work (although it would be great if you could). Sometimes, local influencers have just as much of a pull as their more famous counterparts.

15) Offer Extreme Discounts

During your grand opening, discount some products or services by 50-, 60-, or 75-percent. This will entice guests to try your business and then keep coming back when they like what they see.

16) Set Up Outside

While other events are happening inside your business, set up a booth or display outside to draw people in.

17) Involve Local Artists

Two women taking photos of a piece of art in a gallery

Give your business a distinctive feel and build a strong relationship with your community by involving local artists in your grand opening. You can even continue displaying their work after the grand opening to highlight and promote your community-mindedness.

18) Go Guerilla

Get creative while promoting your grand opening and harness the power of guerilla marketing. For example, the restaurant Chipotle hired local college kids to attend public events. While there, they threw Chipotle t-shirts (folded in the shape of a burrito) into the crowd.

Give it some thought and we’re sure you can come up with a unique way to promote your grand opening.

19) Offer Something For The Kids

If your business caters to families, be sure to offer something for the kids. Clowns, bounce houses, caricature artists — activities like this give children of all ages something to do while the adults check out your business.

20) Give Guided Tours

Guided tours are a unique opportunity for people to see behind the scenes of your new business. Schedule tours for every hour or half-hour during your grand opening to give people a thorough introduction to what you have to offer.

21) Arrange A Poker Run

Poker runs aren’t just for motorcycles anymore. These fun events also make a great addition to — or even serve as the foundation of — your grand opening.

Here’s how they work:

  1. Participants travel to a checkpoint
  2. There, they draw a playing card
  3. They travel to the next checkpoint
  4. They draw another playing card
  5. 5) This pattern continues until all participants have five or seven “cards”

At the final checkpoint, whoever has the best poker hand wins a prize.

Standard poker run checkpoints are usually scattered around a wide geographic area (giving participants the chance to enjoy their ride), but you can tweak this event for walkers so it fits in a smaller space, even your business itself.

Set up checkpoints around your business — or partner with nearby businesses to spread things out a bit — and feature a fun activity or entertainment at each location.

Then, have everyone congregate back at your business at a certain time to see who won. Fun for all ages!

22) Hold A Scavenger Hunt

As a grand opening event, the scavenger hunt is very much like the poker run, only with clues instead of cards.

Assemble everyone at a specific time, give them their first clue, and then turn them loose to follow the clues to the end of the hunt.

You can do this within your location or, again, partner with other local businesses to spread the hunt over a wider geographic area.

Consider offering small prizes to everyone who completes the challenge and larger prizes for the first-, second-, and third-place finishers. Get creative with the way you structure your scavenger hunt, and it will be fun for everyone.

23) Put Together A Day Of Dancing

Dancing for a grand opening idea

Need a fun activity to add some life and movement to your grand opening? Try offering free ballroom dance lessons throughout the day.

With the right equipment and preparation, dance teachers can accommodate both small and large groups, so you don’t have to worry about the amount of people who show up.

Schedule time for both fast and slow dances, such as swing, merengue, waltz, and tango. You can also arrange for attendees to learn a simple group line dance. Invite everyone back later in the day to practice what they’ve learned at an open dance.

24) Throw A Garden Party

You may not have access to an outdoor space connected to your business, but chances are there’s a botanical garden or park pavilion nearby. Why not throw a garden party grand opening?

You can even combine several of the suggestions on this list and make your garden party a formal, catered affair or the last stop on your poker run and site where you announce the winner of the raffle.

Again, get creative and think outside the box for a grand opening garden party that can’t be beat!

25) Get Dressed Up

People of all ages love to get dressed up for fun occasions — and it doesn’t even have to be Halloween. Make your grand opening special by choosing a theme and asking attendees to dress up.

If your brand is geared more toward luxury, consider making it a formal occasion or a Great Gatsby theme, where men wear tuxedos and women wear fancy gowns.

If your business is geared more toward the family, consider choosing a “kid-friendly” theme, like superheroes, and give everyone a chance to pull their Halloween costume out of storage one more time.

The nice thing about “dress up” is that you can do it anywhere. If you can’t gather physically or your customers are in other cities, states, or countries, consider holding your grand opening simultaneously on the internet.

You can live stream the physical festivities and invite virtual attendees to dress up like the rest and enjoy a cocktail while they watch.

To make the virtual participants feel more welcome, take down their contact information and send them a coupon to encourage them to visit your business in person.

26) Create A Carnival Atmosphere

Carnival theme grand opening ideas

Few things attract attention like loud music, flashing lights, fun rides, and the promise of great food and games.

That may sound like a lot of extras to arrange for your grand opening, but you can get it all together when you invite a small carnival or sideshow to set up shop for the day or the weekend.

Creating a carnival atmosphere can even go over well if your business caters more toward adults. Who doesn’t want to relive the fun of their childhood by being spun around really fast and eating lots of fried food?

27) Start With Family And Friends

Instead of going straight for the grand opening with the public, start things off with a soft opening for family and friends. This is a great way to generate buzz for your business and gives your staff a chance to “show off” for those they know.

If you’re going big for your public grand opening, plan something a bit more low-key for this event so you can keep it in-house where you can control the exposure.

Whatever you arrange, be sure to post images and video content on social media to build excitement for the main event coming soon.

28) Show Appreciation For Your Vendors

Another great option for a soft opening — and the perfect way to show your appreciation and thanks — is to hold an event just for your vendors and those who helped get the business going.

Like the family and friends soft opening, you’ll want to keep this one low-key and restrict the guest list to individuals and other businesses that got you to this point.

Consider inviting:

  • Food suppliers
  • Construction workers and their families
  • Real estate agents who helped you find the space
  • Interior decorators
  • Others that assisted along the way

Again, be sure to post images and videos on social media to build excitement for the main, public grand opening coming soon.

29) Extend Your Grand Opening

A one-day grand opening is great, but a two- or three-day event is even better.

Extending your grand opening so that it runs over the course of a long weekend — or even a full week! — gives interested individuals who can’t make it the first day plenty of time to visit your business when they’re available.

Whatever duration you choose, be sure to continue offering the special events, fun, and discounts each day so that later attendees don’t feel left out.

Organization Is Essential For Your Grand Opening

Sling's scheduling feature for organizing grand opening ideas

A huge amount of planning and organization goes into conducting a successful grand opening. How are you going to keep everything running smoothly? By scheduling it down to the minute with the help of the Sling suite of tools.

With Sling, you can schedule all your employees — no matter how many you have — alongside the various bands, celebrities, and events you’ve arranged. Then you can distribute the schedule online for everyone to see.

Any changes you make to that schedule will be immediately viewable without having to send out another version. That will ensure your grand opening goes off without a hitch.

To help you plan, organize, and execute a successful grand opening, download the Sling app for free today. When it comes to organizing, managing, and optimizing your schedule — and your workforce — there’s no better suite of tools than Sling.

The heart of the Sling software is its artificial-intelligence-based scheduling module that includes intuitive features like:

  • Employee and task color coding
  • Time-off notices
  • Recurring shifts
  • Double-booking and overlapping shift notifications
  • Templates
  • And much more…

Sling also contains a built-in time clock and employee work and attendance tracker. With these unique features, you can turn any smartphone, tablet, or computer into a clock-in, clock-out tool.

You can even control labor costs and prevent time theft by establishing geofences around your business and setting limits on how early and how late employees can clock in or out.

But the benefits don’t stop there. With Sling, you also get:

  • Cloud-based schedule distribution and communication
  • A wide range of reports to help you make adjustments for the future
  • Paid-time-off control to help you keep expenses low
  • Powerful messaging features
  • Your very own newsfeed
  • Task lists for you and your employees

When you harness the power of the Sling app, you’ll save countless hours each week that you can then dedicate to setting up the best grand opening possible and improving the way your business operates.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit today.

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This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR, or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.

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