When a person starts a business, it’s one of the most exciting events in their life. Whether it’s a small boutique on Main Street or a manufacturing company in an industrial center, the grand opening can set the tone for how the business will do in its early stages. If you’re a business owner and want to ensure you get off to a great start, here are four ways your grand opening will guarantee your business will hit the ground running.

Plan a Cocktail Reception

If you’ve started a restaurant, gift shop, or other business that lends itself to having a small gathering of people, host a cocktail reception for your grand opening. A great way to introduce and celebrate your new business, you can send personal invitations to select members of your community, including journalists, business leaders, government officials, and anyone else you would like to attend. Along with giving you plenty of promotional opportunities, the reception will also let you establish connections with community and business leaders. And when the reception is over, be sure to give all who attended a gift bag filled with samples of your products. If they like what they see, chances are they’ll let plenty of other people know about you and your business.

Open Your Business to the Community

If on the other hand you’d rather have as many people as possible at your grand opening ceremony, pick a day of the week or even a weekend and invite the community to come visit you and your business. By publicizing your grand opening online, in newspapers, and on television and radio, you’re virtually guaranteed to attract a large crowd. When the big day arrives, offer special prices on certain items, and also have limited-time deals for those who attend. If possible, offer tours of your business and encourage customers to meet and talk with employees, which makes the day as customer-friendly as possible.

Speak to a Local Business Association

Meeting other local businessmen and women can help your business grow. If you’re an entrepreneur who has started a business from scratch, like Tracy Rawle, you might be looking for a way to have a grand opening celebration that doesn’t cost very much. As an answer to this dilemma, consider launching your business by speaking at a local business association meeting. Not only will you meet plenty of new and influential people, but you’ll also be able to give a stellar presentation about your business and hand out plenty of samples and business cards. And remember to allow some time at the end of your presentation to answer questions from the audience, which is always considered a key component of a successful meeting.

Have a Virtual Celebration

For those entrepreneurs who have started an online business, it may not make sense to have an in-person grand opening. Instead, have a virtual grand opening. Since these are not limited to a certain geographic area, your grand opening has the potential to be known the world over. As with traditional grand openings, you can still offer special prices on products or services, and provide information encouraging customers to bookmark your page. To gain an even greater online presence for your grand opening, be sure to go on to your Facebook and Twitter pages to further publicize your business and interact with customers.

While a grand opening celebration can take a tremendous amount of preparation time, it can be well worth the effort when it’s all said and done. By making sure your business gets off to a good start and hits the ground running, you’ll already be a step or two ahead of the competition, which will give you peace of mind while you continue on your entrepreneurial journey.