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“Business Showers” Gaining Popularity as Way for Startups to Introduce Themselves, Receive Support

  • A practice where entrepreneurs throw an informal party and register for products and services to support a business launch is gaining popularity
  • Unlike a launch party, a “business shower” takes place during the earlier stages of forming a business
  • Business showers not only offer assistance in getting an endeavor off the ground, but can also help make it more attractive to investors

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

A grand opening, ribbon cutting, or launch party are all longstanding traditions in the business community. These events offer an opportunity for entrepreneurs to introduce themselves to the community, meet potential customers, and formally announce that they’re open for business.

Now a new trend is emerging to help entrepreneurs gain their footing well before this point: the “business shower.”

The New York Times recently profiled how business showers are growing increasingly popular, but the idea began to gain steam on social media late in 2020. Similar to a baby shower or wedding shower, a business shower involves an informal gathering to announce to associates that you’ve decided to start a business. Entrepreneurs throwing a business shower might also create a registry asking for gifts to help with their endeavor.

The trend has been especially pronounced among younger entrepreneurs. Women have also found business showers to be useful as a way to showcase a milestone that isn’t a marriage or birth.

Business showers are typically limited to a small cadre of family, friends, and associates. The event is often a laid-back affair, featuring drinks and games, but can also be used for more formal purposes such as asking attendees to test a product, form networking connections, brainstorm ideas, offer feedback, or share information on the business on social media.

When a registry is included as part of the business shower, it can feature any products or services needed by the entrepreneur. These might include things like working capital, office equipment, and bookkeeping services. The idea of lending support to small businesses via a registry has also been around for some time; the website Business Gift Registry was founded in 2019.

Business showers have sometimes faced criticism, namely accusations that entrepreneurs who throw them are simply looking for a handout. However, they can provide substantial assistance at the outset in a manner similar to friends and family loans, with money and items being gifted instead of loaned. Business showers also reduce the risk an entrepreneur faces in committing personal funds.

One potential benefit of business showers is that they can demonstrate that the entrepreneur is able to generate interest and enthusiasm for their idea. This can bolster their case when applying for traditional financing or trying to get investors interested in the business.

The registries associated with business showers can give entrepreneurs access to better services than they might be able to afford when bootstrapping their endeavor. Rather than attempting a service on their own or relying on cheaper options, they’ll be more likely to afford a higher end service.

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