Do you ever ask yourself why we celebrate some milestones with a party while we ignore others? It is de rigueur to celebrate a wedding or a pregnancy with a bridal shower or baby shower, but historically the same love hasn’t been given to accomplishments like earning a Ph.D. or starting a new small business.
Enter: Twitter. Yes, the internet-destination for doom scrolling can also be a bastion of great ideas. While the idea has circulated on the ether of the internet for a minute, talk of business showers appears to have recently picked up steam on the platform. User @tSSproject1 tweeted her idea for celebrating new businesses, similar to celebrating the anticipated arrival of a new baby.
Just like baby showers…. We host business showers. When a friend start a business, we all come together, congratulate them and bring resources for their business.
— Sarah Stephens (@tSSproject1) September 29, 2020
Another user agreed and shared her plans to throw her business a shower.
I want to also do a business shower to celebrate myself and this business that’s officially 2 months old 😊 I’m going to plan it not sure how many people to invite that’ll actually show up but I will have a link to an Amazon thing if people want to support that way.
— Jay Dot Com (@Harlems_Belle) October 6, 2020
How to Throw a Business Shower
Business showers are a novel idea, so there isn’t prescribed etiquette to determine how and when to throw a business shower. But since we’ve been to more baby/bridal showers than we’d care to remember, we’re confident we can use that blueprint to create a better, badder shower to celebrate a friend or family member’s newly-minted boss status.
We know that showers usually involve people, gifts, shows of support, and silly games. Recipients usually register for the gifts because in this case, it’s the utility, not the thought that counts. So how can we make that work for a business shower?
- Make your guest list: it’s time to invite everyone who wants to shower your business with love and support. Yes, while we believe that should be everyone you know, we recommend limiting invites to your most ardent cheerleaders. That aunt who only cares about whether or not you’re getting married soon is not going to bring the energy you deserve. And neither you nor your business needs that right now.
- Send invites: Don’t forget to make Emily Post proud by sending a lovely invitation. You can do a digital invite through Paperless Post or Evite or opt for a paper version. Ask people to RSVP because a.) it’s polite and b.) you’re practicing those Call-to-Action skills that will be very important when running a business.
- Choose the venue: If your business has a physical location, that’s the obvious choice. Allowing your friends and family to see your business space is the entrepreneurial equivalent of “feeling the baby kick.” You can also hold the shower at a restaurant or rope one of your friends/family members into hosting it for you. And because we’re in a pandemic, there’s also the option of throwing yourself a virtual shower.
- Register: Think of the supplies and tools that you need to lay a strong foundation for your business. Yes, a stapler may be on the list, but you can also ask for gifts like a few months of paid bookkeeping software, a small working capital fund, or shipping supplies.
- Enjoy the shower: You’ve worked hard for this. Let yourself relish in the support.
- Send thank-you notes: We would be remiss in invoking the ghost of Emily Post if we did not also remind you to send a thank-you note for all the gifts you receive.
What to Buy for a Business Shower
Okay, so what kind of gifts does one buy (or register) for a business shower? Shower gifts should be useful, thoughtful, and cute (if at all possible—sometimes it is not.). As with other showers, it’s best to get a gift receipt so the recipient can return or exchange the item if they need to.
- Office supplies: staplers, pens, papers, notebooks, envelopes, etc.
- Computer equipment: laptop, mouse, keyboard, printers, scanners, phone chargers (you can never have too many), etc.
- A mobile payments reader
- Bookkeeping services
- Working capital funds
- Payroll software (if the business will have employees)
- Your expertise: If you have professional expertise that could benefit a new business (like marketing, accounting, business development, etc.), you can consider gifting a few hours of your time to share your insight or your labor.
Business Shower Activities
No, we’re not going to suggest you smell diapers filled with melted candy bars. This is professional. Celebrate a new business venture by embracing the excitement of friends and family to do something to support the business.
- Social media bonanza: Ask guests to post something on social media.
- Try and review: Have a product or experience you’d love your friends and family to test? Take them through the experience. It’s great practice for the business owner. Plus, at the end of the experience, guests can tell you what they thought by leaving a review online.
- Focus group: If you’ve got the whole gang together, why not use it as an opportunity for an impromptu focus group?
- Spread the word: Guests can split up to flyer neighboring areas.
- Brainstorm: Brainstorm hashtags, marketing approaches, new products, you name it. This is the time to take everyone’s advice and put it in one place. You can ask one person to be in charge of taking notes, the way you’d usually have someone recording the gifts. There are bound to be some great ideas and creative solutions. Even if it doesn’t apply now, these suggestions may help you down the road.
Don’ts for a Business Shower
While it may be tempting to go hog wild, please stop borrowing from baby-party traditions, and please leave “gender reveal parties” alone. Yes, an “industry reveal” party for a friend’s new business does sound very fun, but gender reveal pyrotechnics have already started enough fires. We don’t need more.
What do you think? Will you be embracing business showers? Are there any business shower gifts that we missed? Let us know in the comments.