It’s often been said that, “Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy.” And according to Inc.com, it really is true. From creating jobs to leading innovation and even, in some cases, growing into big businesses, the entrepreneurial spirit of the American job force is a big part of the American dream.
For all the good that small businesses do for our economy, it makes sense that there’s a day to celebrate them. That’s where Small Business Saturday comes into play.
What is Small Business Saturday?
This “shopping holiday” first started in 2010 as a way to support and celebrate small businesses during the busiest shopping season of the year. Think of it as a similar idea to Black Friday—where businesses offer special deals and extended hours to encourage larger sales volumes.
When is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Just as with Black Friday, the idea is for people to get a head start on their Holiday shopping—though many non-retail businesses participate in the occasion as well by offering special deals on their services.
How to Prepare for Small Business Saturday
With any luck, lots of people will be excited to shop local and support your business. It’s important to be prepared and provide the best experience possible to everyone who walks through your door.
- Extend your hours for the day – Providing customers with a broader window of time to shop at your business increases the sales volume potential for the day. Just make sure you communicate clearly about any special hours of operation on your website and social media.
- Hire or Schedule Extra Help – By having some extra hands on staff, you can better manage large groups of customers and provide a smoother service experience.
- Decide on Promotions– Just like Black Friday, most businesses will be offering special promotions or incentives to entice people to shop. If your business simply can’t offer deep discounts, offering snacks, free gifts, or activities (like a raffle or product demonstration) can be a fun and interesting alternative that will strike up a buzz. The beauty of Small Business Saturday is that shoppers don’t expect the same types of discounts they’d find at the big-box stores and are often just happy to be supporting their local business owners.
Even just a little bit of preparation can make a huge difference in how smoothly the day goes—and with so much potential to make good money, it’s better to be over-prepared than to wish you’d put more effort into your planning.
How to Promote Small Business Saturday at Your Business
Letting people know that you’re participating is the most important thing. Some popular promotion ideas include:
- Using the #SmallBusinessSaturday hashtag on social media posts leading up to the occasion.
- Printing out flyers to hang up and hand out is classic tactic that still works.
- Teaming up with other local businesses. Get creative! Maybe you can set up a scavenger hunt or map to encourage customers to visit every small business on the list.
Promoting your participation in Small Business Saturday is especially important if you’re located in an area that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic. If your customers don’t hear anything from you, they won’t think to visit your establishment or they might assume you’re not participating at all.
How to Reap the Benefits after the Day Ends
If all goes well, you’ll get lots of new customers visiting your shop for the very first time. This opens up great potential for you to connect with a whole new audience—especially on social media. A few ways you can capitalize on this potential include:
- Encouraging people to connect with you on social media. Having a small placard by the register is an easy and simple way to display which social media channels you use.
- Providing incentives for people to “check in” at your business on Facebook, Yelp, or FourSquare. One incentive to try could be providing customers with a special promo code (via direct message) after you’ve seen that they’ve checked in.
- Promoting selfies while customers shop. You can do this by setting up a photo backdrop or props. And, of course, you’ll need to think of a fun hashtag that people can easily remember and use when they post their photos.
All of these tactics can extend Small Business Saturday benefits beyond just one day because your customers are your biggest marketing assets and they have the power to make their friends curious about your business in a way that traditional advertising can’t.
If you’re a business owner, there’s no reason not to participate in Small Business Saturday in some way and take advantage of the extra hype surrounding the busiest shopping season of the year. Even if you don’t offer retail products, running a special promotion for Small Business Saturday can get people excited about your business and help customers feel good about supporting the local economy.
If you need a secure and organized way to make purchases for your business in order to prepare for Small Business Saturday, Union Community Bank offers business credit cards. These cards are designed to provide convenient access to funds while protecting against theft and earning you cash back on purchases you’d make anyway.