It’s almost time for Black Friday again. Get ready for the big box stores to offer ridiculous deals to consumers willing to get up early and brave the crowds. For a small business, it can be hard to compete with this phenomenon- and with the deals. That’s why American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, consumers are encouraged to patronize their nearby small businesses and spend money in the local economy. Making the choice to shop small can have a big impact- according to American Independent Business Alliance, every dollar spent at a small business in the US, results in approximately $1.45 injected into the local economy! Your dollar spent locally has a 145% multiplier effect.
This year, Small Business Saturday is November 30. You don’t need to register to participate, and there are plenty of great ways for your business to make the most of the day! Here are just a few of our favorites:
Do your research. Is your city or town doing anything to promote Small Business Saturday? Are other businesses in your area getting together to host an event? Reach out to your local chamber of commerce or municipal officials to find out what’s going on and jump on board!
Talk to your neighbors. Work with other businesses near you to figure out how you can get someone who stops in one store to visit another one nearby! Offer customers a small discount at your store with a receipt dated that day from the business next door, and vice versa. If you work together to host your own event, this Small Business Saturday event planning checklist could help you get organized.
Offer something special. Small Business Saturday is all about celebrating what makes small business unique, so do something special! This doesn’t mean you have to slash prices or give away the store- contests, book signings, live performances, and a visit by a local celebrity or town official are all great ways to get people excited about your business. This can be an easy way to build an email list or social media presence, too! Speaking of which…
Tell people about it! Promote the event on social media, with flyers, etc. Use #shopsmall #shoplocal and follow @shopsmall on Instagram for ideas. Tell your customers about any deals you’ll be offering or fun things happening at your business in advance, and then share pictures and videos on Small Business Saturday to remind people to stop in!
Make it an experience. Although online shopping is convenient, there’s one way it can never compete with local stores, and that’s customer service. Make sure customers have an unforgettable experience during their visit, giving them a reason to come back again and again. Take the time to talk about your products and get to know your customers- you’ll be glad you did when they stop in next week to pick up another gift!
Here at 1Berkshire, we’re thankful for all of the local businesses that power our regional economy. Let us know how you plan to celebrate Small Business Saturday, and if you don’t own a local shop, you can still still do your part…get out their and do some shopping!
Photo: Kara Thornton