8 Ways to Celebrate Your Small Business AnniversaryDon't miss this opportunity to toot your horn and thank your customers and employees.
According to the Small Business Administration, only half of all small businesses survive five years or longer, so the five-year or ten-year mark is a real milestone, one worth celebrating.
Unlike with a wedding anniversary, there’s no pressure to get it right — just a huge opportunity to thank your customers and employees and gain additional exposure for your brand while you’re at it.
“People buy from people, and most prefer doing business with companies that are dependable and growing,” said Cresta Lewis of The Eisen Agency. Show that your business is both of those things by celebrating your anniversary and spreading the word. Here are eight ideas to inspire you.
Create a calendar of events
Don’t limit a milestone anniversary celebration to a single day or week. You have an entire year to commemorate your achievement, so use it, advised Kelly Woo, anniversary consultant at The Anniversary Company, which develops and executes strategic business anniversary celebrations.
Woo suggested creating a calendar of events and activities that appeal to a variety of audiences — existing and potential customers, employees, and the community at large. Spread them out to “keep the excitement and momentum of the anniversary going throughout the year.”
Create an anniversary logo
To unite your campaign, Cresta Lewis of The Eisen Agency suggested creating a commemorative anniversary logo that can be used across all your anniversary initiatives and promotions. Use it on your website and in your email signature, incorporate it on in-store signage, or even add it to products that can be used as thank-you gifts or sold as anniversary-year items.
Honor your employees
“Businesses are nothing without their loyal workers, and it’s imperative that you make your employees feel that the business’s success is also their success,” said Grant van der Harst, executive director of U.K. small business Anglo Liners, a provider of road marking services.
Do something special, such as a fun outing or fancy banquet dinner, to let them know how much you appreciate their hard work and loyalty. Make it a step up from your annual holiday party, since it’s a truly special event.
Consider throwing a “homecoming” celebration and extend an invitation to past employees and vendors who had a big hand in helping build your business.
Reward loyal patrons
Employees aren’t the only ones contributing to your brand’s success. Loyal customers should also be recognized for their support.
“A milestone anniversary is a great time to show customer appreciation,” said Lewis. She suggested hosting an exclusive sale or event for your top customers, such as an after-hours reception with appetizers, drinks and first dibs on a new product.
Launch a new product or service
Speaking of new products, if you’ve been considered adding to your current product or service lineup, an anniversary is the ideal moment for a launch, said Van der Harst. By unveiling the new offering as part of your celebration campaign, you can cross-promote both events (and save a few marketing dollars).
Marking your anniversary with a new product or service can also draw extra attention to your brand and may showcase how your business has grown and evolved to meet changes in customer demand.
Hold a social media contest
Anniversary celebrations are great for creating social buzz around your brand, said Jennifer Macleod, brand manager of online knitting supply marketplace Love Knitting.
For its second anniversary, Love Knitting invited fans to participate in a social media contest in which customers sent in their own “crafty” images for a chance to be highlighted on the brand’s social media channels and win money to spend on the Love Knitting site.
Start a scholarship fund
Creating a college scholarship is another way to celebrate your anniversary, said Woo. You could limit the scholarship to your own employees who are working while completing their education, or create a scholarship program for local high school seniors planning to pursue a career in your industry. Either way, a scholarship is a great opportunity to start a legacy for your brand that will have a long-term impact.
Put on a charity gala
Hosting a community-wide anniversary gala can double as a community outreach effort, said Van der Harst. While the main purpose of the event may be to celebrate your success, you can make it a charitable giving initiative by donating ticket sales and proceeds from a silent auction to a local charity. This approach will help you attract more attendees and may net you some free PR to boot.