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Make Small Business Saturday Memorable –
and Profitable

by Amanda Krueger

We're Open sign hanging in business doorway

Small Business Saturday can be a big day for small businesses. This year Small Business Saturday falls on November 24, 2018. Sandwiched between big, corporate Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, it can be difficult for small businesses to stand out and drive sales. Through preparation and creativity, there are ways to make the most of Small Business Saturday.

Tell the Story

On Thanksgiving weekend, customers are ready to start their holiday spending spree. But not all customers realize the benefits of spending locally. Maybe they’ve heard of Small Business Saturday, but to put it in context, it’s helpful to understand the impact locally and on the national economy. Here are some eye-raising stats from the U.S. Small Business Administration and other resources:

  • More than 50% of Americans either own or work for a small business. (Source: SBA)
  • Small businesses accounted for 63% of the net share of new jobs over the past six years. (Source: SBA)
  • Small businesses create about 2 out of 3 new jobs in the U.S. each year.
  • Small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes. (Source: Seattle Good Business Network)
  • If you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in your local economy. If you spend the same at a large business, only $43 stays in the local economy (Source: Civic Economics Study in Grand Rapids, Michigan)

Nine in 10 U.S. consumers reported that Small Business Saturday “has had a positive impact on their community,” and “inspires them to explore new independently-owned retailers and restaurants,” based on the 2017 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business. Knowing this, small businesses have a great opportunity to make a particularly large impact on one day out of the year—so plan and be creative.

Start Promoting Early

Promotion of Small Business Saturday is key. The big retail chains have no problems reaching mass audiences with their large marketing budgets, so small businesses have to be more strategic. The U.S. Small Business Administration provides free resources on their website to help promote Small Business Saturday. Remind people of the event using cost effective and targeted marketing channels including social media, email, website and signage. Most importantly, boost your online presence. That’s where most customers will find you first.

You need not wait until Small Business Saturday to begin offering deals and discounts. Start your promotions earlier in the month, with special discounts or incentives on Small Business Saturday that rival the big companies.

Target Younger Generations

According to Google, 64% of shoppers use mobile search on smartphones for product ideas before heading to the store. That means you need to find them where they are to offer promotions. Encourage customers to visit your social media pages and give online reviews. You can reach a broad audience and spread the word about your small business participating in Small Business Saturday.  Some popular hashtags to use on social media include #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat #SmallBusinessSaturday #DineSmall. You may also consider using special hashtags created just for your business to further build awareness of your brand.

Keep in mind, a big reason why people love to shop Small Business Saturday is to find one-of-a-kind products, so be sure to feature those unique gift ideas in-store and online.

Over the past couple years, the U.S. economy saw solid growth, the unemployment rate dropped to 4%, and the stock market saw record highs—increasing annual holiday spending in 2017. Small business trends point to economic optimism and confidence, and plans for growth into the New Year. Now is the time to make Small Business Saturday Memorable—and profitable.