People in communities across the U.S. are excited to support local small businesses this holiday season – and as a small business owner, there’s no better way to share the love than by participating in Small Business Saturday on November 26. It’s the perfect time for your growing business to shine and show what sets it apart from big-business competitors.
Use this simple guide to get ready for Small Business Saturday and to keep your happy customers coming back throughout the holiday season.
What is Small Business Saturday?
In the depth of the Great Recession in 2010, American Express® recognized that many small businesses were struggling. In the face of enormous competition from large brick-and-mortar stores (the traditional Black Friday beneficiaries) and from Cyber Monday, which emphasized online sales (and away from small, locally based, brick-and-mortar shops), it was difficult for truly small businesses to stand out.
In response, American Express launched Small Business Saturday. The idea was to give locally owned small businesses a way to band together and leverage their unique goods and services and the important role they play in the quality of life and economic health of their communities.
Today, Small Business Saturday is a holiday-season favorite in communities across the country. Millions of potential customers will be out and about, looking for ways to support the businesses while checking gifts off their lists. Small Business Saturday is growing in popularity in communities around the country and the best way to gain its benefits while helping your customers is to actively participate in your local effort.
How to leverage Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday takes place on Saturday, November 26 this year – and while that’s soon, there are many simple things you can do to leverage this great opportunity.
The key to a successful Small Business Saturday is to give your customers a great experience – the kind that they won’t find at big-box stores or through online sales. Get creative about ways to make Small Business Saturday the best part of their holiday season.
Here are a few steps to get started:
1. Set goals for Small Business Saturday and the holiday season – and ensure that you have enough working capital to achieve them.
Keep your best-sellers in stock, have items available that make great add-ons or grab-and-go gifts and have one-of-a-kind suggestions for the hardest-to-please people on your customers’ lists. By doing so, you’ll make their holiday season easy and enjoyable and create loyalty that lasts all year.
What if you don’t have stock (or the funding to get it) before Small Business Saturday? Many small businesses rely on the holiday season to bring in a significant portion of annual revenue. If you’re cash-crunched heading into the holidays, don’t panic. You can still find an affordable funding solution to help you stock inventory, hire staff and meet your goals.
When you’re looking for financing on short-notice, make sure you still do your research. Not all fast funding solutions are the same, and some may end up costing you more in the long term.
2. Make sure that customers know where to find you and that you’re participating in Small Business Saturday.
Review your website and social media, as well as your Google My Business information. Make sure that contact information, hours and information about your products and services are updated and accurate. In addition, be sure to register through American Express’s Small Business Saturday website so you can be added to the map for businesses in your area.
3. Use the free marketing materials available through the American Express Shop Small Resource Hub.
You’ll find free marketing materials, great ideas to help you optimize your Small Business Saturday presence, as well as information on like-minded businesses that can help support your success, from sales to shipping and more.
4. Partner with other local businesses to promote discounts and offerings and to create a festive feel throughout your commercial neighborhood.
Talk to your community’s business-development organization and other small business owners in your neighborhood. Work together to create complimentary cross-promotions, special discounts and other offerings. The result? You’ll create a wonderful and festive community experience! It might be too expensive for you to hire live musicians on your own, for example, but if several businesses share the cost, it can be a fun way to add holiday spirit to your street.
5. Leverage social media.
Learn about what potential customers in your community or industry are excited to find this holiday season by doing some hashtag research. You can then tailor your social media posts and hashtags to leverage trends and capture their attention.
6. Set a festive tone.
Depending on your business or locale, this can be as simple as having a pot of spiced cider available, putting out a jar of peppermints or hanging some fun (or elegant) seasonal decorations. The goal is to create an upbeat and engaging experience for all to draw more customers in.
7. Support your staff.
Make your business’s work environment as enjoyable for them as you do for your customers and ensure that they’re prepared to give quality customer service. As many small businesses struggle with labor shortages, showing appreciation for those who help your business succeed is more important than ever.
Pursuit supports small businesses on Small Business Saturday and every day
Pursuit is all about small business – helping you get the funding you need to build the business of your dreams, with more than 15 loan options from $10,000 to $5.5 million. This holiday season and all year long, we can help you get the working capital you need and more. Contact us to learn more.
Also, take a look at many Pursuit clients who are participating in Small Business Saturday. Find inspiration from how they’re participating and support your fellow small business owners: