As we bring our calendar year to a close, I’m reminded that one of my own businesses is about to have its business anniversary. January just seems like a good time to start a business, at least from a bookkeeping standpoint as your fiscal year and calendar year will be the same. The downside is that you’re piggybacking off every major holiday and people (even the boss) can be pretty tired of all the celebrations that come with the season.
As an introvert, who barely likes her own parties let alone parties I am forced to attend from October to January, it can be hard to get in the spirit of throwing a big bash to celebrate my business and the people who helped me achieve my success. But the fact is that you should celebrate in some way, even if it isn’t an all-night catered event.
So, here are some of my favorite, low-key, low-stress ways to celebrate company anniversaries for those of your who are “done” celebrating, but still want to celebrate:
- Make it shiny and new. Whether your business anniversary comes on January 1st or July 17th, an anniversary is always a great time to consider re-branding or updating your brand. Maybe tweak the colors or the fonts? Modernize your logo? Give your website a once-over? You might even change your name (yes, companies do this ALL the time)! What better excuse than an anniversary?!
- Buy branded. And speaking of re-branding, a business anniversary is the perfect time to unveil limited edition logo wear or swag that celebrates all you’ve accomplished!
- Take some time. Are you in it for the long haul? Prove it with a time capsule! I love creating business time capsules or letters to my future self (for the 5, 10, and 15-year marks and on). Get your team involved and have them write a letter, too (though don’t be surprised when, in ten years, you read that Sheila from the tech team never liked the logo—true story).
- Track the time. Are you celebrating a big milestone year? Like ten or twenty years? Why not take a look back and create a timeline of all the major events and accomplishments over the years? If your business is celebrating an even longer time in business, it can also be fun to look back to what was going on when you began. Celebrating 50 years? What were the gas prices or the most popular songs and movies? It’s fun to see how far you’ve come!
- Offer anniversary-themed discounts. Everyone loves a good deal and I always love a theme! Maybe offer 20% off for your twentieth anniversary. Or buy 4 and get the 5th free for your fifth anniversary. You can even use this for off-anniversaries, like $18 off to honor 18 years in business!
- Have an awards ceremony. It’s always a good idea to show your team some recognition. Did someone have the best sales numbers? Or the highest retention? Or the biggest growth? Whatever the achievement, make sure you add that to the celebration. These don’t even need to be at an actual event. You could even send a company-wide email to celebrate.
- Have a funny awards ceremony. Okay, I totally stole this from The Office and the Dundee awards (and maybe my high school debate team). I love ridiculous (and serious) award ceremonies for smaller companies. Yes, everyone loves a “Highest Sales Number” award, but isn’t it more fun to have a “Most Likely to Punched” award for your Customer Service rep? Or “Most Likely to Burn This Place to the Ground” award for … well, let’s be honest, that one is probably for me. Just make sure your humorous awards are actually funny, and not making fun of someone at their own expense. Know your audience (which is why I suggest this for smaller companies).
- Thank your customers, personally. Your clients are why you have a business, so be sure to include them in the celebrations. If you have a few top clients or someone who has literally been with you since your very first day, a handwritten note goes a long way!
- Trivia night (or week or month)! Your business is more than your product or service—it’s a part of you. You can share all those little tidbits in a trivia contest. See how well your customers know you and your company by testing their knowledge. This can be as serious or obscure or silly as you like. Ask questions like, “How many gallons of paint were used to paint the walls?” or “How many cups of coffee does the owner drink a day?” or whatever you think might be interesting to note. Fun company facts are always a hit. Offer a prize or discount for the trivia winner and post the questions on social media. Or … this could simply be a “fun facts” post on a blog, newsletter, or social media site.
- Show off. Nothing like a business anniversary to point out how well you do what you do. Show off your awards, post any accolades or achievements of which you are particularly proud. If you don’t feature these on your website and/or social media, now is a perfect time!
- Give back. One of my favorite ways to show gratitude for finishing another year of business is to give back to my community. Is there a charity that aligns with your company or personal values? Maybe you can give a percentage of profits. Or maybe you can organize a company-wide, team-building event like a beach clean-up or retirement home visit. There are so many ways to give back and make a positive difference in your community and a business anniversary is a great excuse to get out there and give back.
- Video messages. As the owner, boss, CEO, Chief Badass, or whatever you want to call yourself, take a moment to record a “thank you” video for your team and customers. Consider this a type of press release. You can be as serious or humorous and as long or short as you like, but put your face out there and talk to your people. Bonus, you can add this to content for your blog or social media.
Yes, a huge company bash with balloons and fireworks and a champagne toast can be incredible, but not always practical. It’s okay not to go all-out in celebrating, but you should celebrate in some way. After all, a company anniversary is a big thing—BIG—but your celebration can be whatever you like and however grand you like. Make it yours. You (and your team) earned it.