Accounting | Small business

Will hosting a business shower help get your new venture off the ground?

Experts weigh in on whether friends, family and your professional network should help you stock up before opening your doors

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Male and female coworkers listening to businesswoman talking on microphone in meeting at office When hosting a business shower, an office setting could be the ideal venue as guests get to know the look and feel of your new space (Getty Images/Luis Alvarez)

If opening your own accounting firm or another type of venture is on the horizon, there’s a new way to get your small business off the ground—host a business shower. 

These events are growing in popularity, particularly amongst start-ups, as recently reported in the New York Times. Just as baby showers celebrate new beginnings, business showers mark the launch of a new company. Friends, family and professional connections show up to lend support—both financially and in spirit— as well as resources, offering complimentary (or exchanged) professional services such as IT, PR and graphic design.

But where do you start when organizing a business shower and what should CPAs keep in mind, if they’re considering one? We asked two business coaches to weigh in on this new trend.


First establish whether a business shower is a good fit, based on what your business does and who it serves, advises master corporate executive coach Jennifer Gervès-Keen, owner of JGK Consulting, author of Show Up Like a Coach and a speaker at CPA Canada’s The ONE Conference + Expo.

From there, set an intention for the event—outlining what you want to achieve and what guests will take away from it, such as new connections, an exchange of knowledge or simply clear insight into your business offerings. 

Gervès-Keen views business showers as a launch with a twist. For CPAs, it could work for those serving first-time tax-filers or investors, or those seeking a financial coach, but it may not be appropriate for every business or industry, she warns. 

Gervès-Keen recommends analyzing whether your business model, brand and client base gels with the casual quirkiness of this type of event. 

“Think about your audience because, if you’re trying to use [the shower] to get investments or to advertise to clients, if those clients look at it and dismiss it as something that is potentially frivolous or a grab for money, before you’ve even proved yourself ... it could backfire on you,” she says. 

“It will [ultimately] depend on your brand, credibility and presence in the marketplace.”


If you’re going ahead with one, don’t limit your guestlist to friends, family and your professional connections, suggests CPA Melanie Schroeder, CEO and founder of Out of the Box CPA. Open it up to their networks as well, she says.

“The more people you can come into contact with is a good thing,” she says. “I would even go beyond a plus one and say if there is anybody you’d like to bring, bring them along,” says Schroeder.

Gervès-Keen however recommends being more discerning with invitations, adding that business showers may be better suited to family and friends, particularly if you’re unsure how potential clients or connections will respond. 

“[Perhaps] just enjoy the fact that you’re opening your business and get some of that support from people who know you personally,” she says. 

Then, down the line, when your business and reputation are more established, organize an event that taps into the network and clients you’ve built up, such as celebrating a first anniversary, she adds.


Though business showers can be held in restaurants, bars, even on condo rooftops, Schroeder believes an office space is an ideal location, where guests can get a feel for where you work and your business vibe.

“For me, the office is always the ideal location,” she says. “People get a chance to see you in your office and get a sense of what it’s like.”

Using an office environment is also gentler on a budget, adds Gervès-Keen. “You can find meeting rooms that cost close to nothing,” she says.

If you do go with a restaurant, choose an atmosphere where guests can mingle, Schroeder advises. “A sit-down dinner makes it harder for people to interact,” she says. And remember to account for food and beverage, supplied by the venue, in the budget.

Lastly, adds Schroeder, keep in mind the lingering pandemic and people’s varying levels of comfort when it comes to attending in-person events. “Depending on who you’re working with, virtual might be a better platform,” she says. “It’s a good way to highlight that you’re up to date with technology.”


Online services, including Business Gift Registry and Biz Idea Shower out of the U.S., now exist to set up gift registries for business showers, providing entrepreneurs with essentials such as office supplies, equipment and technology. But some experts caution against them, depending on your industry. 

“As CPAs, we’re trying to instill confidence in our clients as their financial stewards,” says Schroeder. “It depends on the kind of business but asking for gifts or money may not be congruent in our world.”

Gervès-Keen agrees adding that it could tarnish a first impression and your reputation moving forward. “I would be careful who you’re asking and what you’re asking when you’re starting out, because you haven’t proven yourself yet,” she says. 

Instead, she adds, give your guests a takeaway—something concrete, such as a complimentary service you offer or less tangible like an exchange of knowledge—which is a more effective way to make a lasting impression. 

“I would go after people’s knowledge and ask them to be mentors and supporters, possible brand ambassadors,” she says. “It’s back to the intention. What do you want people to get out of it? You have to make the event a good use of their time.” 


Some say branding is key to business success. Here’s how to build a powerful personal brand. If you’re a small business owner looking for tips on how to survive and thrive financially, check out these CPA Canada resources.