Getting started -- Talk with another, non-competing, business owner. Set up an open house at your place or at the other business. Both businesses invite current customers/clients with phone calls, emails, Facebook announcements, Twitter tweets, maybe even a news release. Get the word out to as many people as you can.
Encourage attendance by emphasizing that it is free. Point to what will be demonstrated or discussed. Serve coffee and cookies. Tell people to bring their questions--and their friends. You don't need to rent a hall--most places can accommodate a dozen or so people.
Partnering possibilities -- Here are five examples to show you the way. 1. A small accounting office partners with a financial planner to hold an open meeting on retirement possibilities, inheritance set-ups, taxes, and more. 2. A computer expert partners with a local cafe answering all questions about computer problems, social media, viruses, etc. Everyone has questions about computers, and attendees get to know another place to grab a bite to eat. 3. A florist partners with a wedding specialist to hold a workshop on how to make that special day more special. Or the florist partners with a caterer who furnishes hors d'oeuvres. 4. A landscaper partners with a book store to offer tips on taking care of yards, designing new landscapes, how-to information on pruning. Attendees get to know the landscaper and peruse the gardening books--and buy some to take away. 5. A potter partners with an artist who paints watercolors. The event is held at the potter's studio. The potter demonstrates how to throw a pot, while the artist demonstrates techniques working in watercolors. A partnering bakery is added to the mix, and attendees munch on goodies while they get to know the potter, the artist, and the baker.
Small businesses benefit enormously when they partner with each other to hold events. Excitement is created in the community. The gathering introduces people to both businesses. It's among the best of promotions you can tackle.