While the child in all of us can’t wait for the Thanksgiving turkey or the joy of the festive season to follow, the entrepreneur sitting right next to him is avidly anticipating another kind of holiday.
Small Business Saturday® is a national phenomenon that has taken the United States by storm since its first official observation in 2010. Eight years later, it’s forecast to remain a strong, influential complement to the reigning shopping sprees offered by the likes of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
November 24th is the date to mark on your calendar this year!
But wait. There are infamously long lines seen outside Best Buy or Target hours before the stores open for their Black Friday sales every year. Amazon’s servers practically crashed on the Monday after Thanksgiving because there are so many digital shoppers flooding in.
How can small businesses possibly compete with that?
The answer is the very reason you are a small business owner in the first place. People LOVE to support small, local businesses. Between 2010 and 2016, alone, the number of shoppers who took part in Small Business Saturday® increased from just under 74 million to an astounding 112 million, according to data collected by Grasshopper, AMEX, and Forbes.
The popularity and success seen in the United States have been so extraordinary that other nations, like the United Kingdom, have been inspired to start similar traditions of their own.
The numbers don’t lie. If you can compete with the big chain stores the rest of the year, you can certainly do it during the holiday season.
What is Small Business Saturday®?
The holiday season is a time when shopping becomes an Olympic-sized event – cars circle the parking lots of shopping malls in the hope that they’ll finally see an empty space on the next lap, credit cards get maxed out, and actual holidays are declared to celebrate this spending extravaganza.
As we mentioned, people enjoy supporting their local small businesses, but it can be challenging to remember that when every major retailer is flashing BLACK FRIDAY in every TV commercial and across every billboard. To help busy shoppers and small business owners alike, American Express® established a day every year when shopping small and local is given the spotlight.
Encouraged by the Small Business Administration (SBA), government bodies, and even the news media, this tradition is here to stay.
How Can You Get Involved?
As an entrepreneur, taking part in Small Business Saturday® is as easy as letting your customers know. Use your social media handles, flyers, paid advertisements, and word-of-mouth to get shoppers hyped about paying your business a visit on November 24th.
If you want to take your participation to the next level and draw even more attention to your campaign, though, check out some of these great tools…
Join the Shop Small® initiative: Powered by American Express®, Shop Small® is a movement that seeks to promote the holiday’s goals and the businesses themselves. From organizing events in your community to bringing together a group of fellow small business owners to spearhead the movement in your area, this initiative offers some great resources to help you make an impact.
Check out resources from the SBA: From event ideas to marketing templates, the SBA website lists a number of resources for entrepreneurs looking to take part in Small Business Saturday®.
Connect through sites like Meetup: Making this a group effort not only strengthens community awareness of the shopping holiday but can have a substantial impact on your own business. Find other local businesses looking to make connections and plan events as a team. Banding together, even promoting fellow small businesses, brings more attention to both of your brands. Not only are they gaining the benefit of being placed in front of your clients, you are being promoted to theirs. That’s a win-win!
Remember to use the #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat hashtags in your social media posts!
Ideas for Making the Day A Success
Take a look through the internet and you’ll find loads of suggestions for how to make your business stand out from the crowd on Small Business Saturday®. We’ve rounded up some of the best of them, so you don’t need to skim through page after page of search results…
“21 Simple Ideas for a Successful Small Business Saturday” by Rose Leadem for Entrepreneur
“How To Be Successful This Small Business Saturday: Make Retail Personal Like Beekman 1802” by Pamela N. Danziger for Forbes
“Small Business Saturday & How to Make It a Successful One #ShopSmall” by Shawn Ryan for InStore Design Display
Whether you have a portion of your budget to contribute toward this or not, there is a lot you can do to make the most of what this shopping holiday has to offer your business. From promotion techniques to networking opportunities within your community, the tools to make Small Business Saturday® work for you are out there.
American Express has also published four Small Business Saturday® event guides you'll love!
Far from being an obscure trend that will pass after the fad has faded from popularity, the phenomenon has worked its way into the fabric of American holiday tradition. Let Forward View Consulting, L.L.C. help you take advantage of the possibilities Small Business Saturday® has to offer. Reach out to us for information about how we can help you with your holiday marketing strategy, from getting your social media audience in the know to equipping you with flyers and promotional mailings for your clients.
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