As a small business owner, you are constantly competing with larger companies who have more manpower and more resources. Thankfully, American Express founded Small Business Saturday seven years ago, always the day after Black Friday, to give the small business owner a boost. The shopping season is almost upon us, and people are looking forward to the three biggest and best shopping days of the year: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
Since the day was founded, small business owners have been using it to reconnect with their customers and strengthen those relationships. Most hope that those relationships will carry them throughout the year. Depending on where you stand, you may be looking forward to the day or completely dreading it. Chances are if you’re dreading it, it’s only because you aren’t prepared.
On that note, we have put together a list of ways you can start getting ready for what may be your busiest day of the year. Here are 10 tips to get the ball rolling.
Update Your Website
The first thing to do is the easiest. Take a good look at your website and make sure that all of the information is correct. You’ll want to do the same with your social media profiles. You may be surprised at how many small business owners forget this small thing and then wonder why no one is visiting their store. You don’t have to revamp your entire site, but you should make sure that your contact information and open hours are correct.
Advertise for Free
As part of the day, American Express offers free web badges, free signs and other marketing materials. All of these things will help get your business’s name out into the public and let people know what you are selling. Take advantage of the free stuff — offers like these don’t come along very often.
If you are typically open until, let’s say, 4 p.m. on Saturdays, stay open on Small Business Saturday until 8 or 9 at night. See what else is going on in your area and close shop accordingly. You don’t want to be the first one to close, and you certainly don’t want to miss out on the potential business you could gain from staying just a few hours late. By the way, it’s also a good idea to let people know that you will be extending your hours.
Focus on the Customer
Now is a great time to make a good impression. If your employees aren’t already offering the best customer service, retrain them. The more personalized the experience you provide for your customers or clients, the more likely they are to return. Think of things that could go wrong ahead of time, and prepare for them.
Why do people want to come to your business? Why should they want to spend their money with you instead of your competition? Plan some incentives. Raffles are big and so are giveaways. Offer something to your customers who will post a photo of them using or with your product on their social media accounts. Think of creative ways you can promote your product.
Forget Trying to Compete
You aren’t a big box store, so don’t try to act like one. Doorbusters may attract customers into stores like Walmart, but they may not work out quite the same for you. People aren’t necessarily coming to you for a deep discount, but to support local small businesses. Chances are the people who visit your business aren’t the same people who are standing in line for Black Friday… at least not all of them.
Speak to other local business owners in the area to discuss ways you can band together for Small Business Saturday. Free cups of coffee, finger foods or even a sidewalk flea market may prompt people to not only shop your business but support others as well. Doing this could give you ideas for ways you can all work together in the future.
Most cities have at least one charity within their borders or very close by. Use Small Business Saturday as a way to promote one of them. You can donate a portion of your sales to a local charity quite easily. Choose your favorite or pick one that is somehow related to your business. For example, if you own a dog grooming salon, donate a portion of your sales to a dog shelter. If you sell clothing, donate a portion of your sales to a homeless shelter.
Don’t Avoid It
Let’s say that you don’t sell a physical product. It doesn’t mean that you can’t participate in the big day. Offer discounts for the services you do offer. Give away coupons for discounted services that people take advantage of in the coming months. Anything you can do to get your name out there is a smart move.
Don’t let your thoughts land on Small Business Saturday and stay there. Think of ways you can carry the momentum beyond and into the new year.
Small Business Saturday has the potential to be one of your busiest and most productive days of the year. It’s up to you to take advantage of it. By following the tips above, you can make sure your business isn’t only ready for the big shopping day, but that you make a profit from it.
Let Us Help You Make the Most of Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday is nearly here, but there are still ways we can help you prepare. We can help you find business funding to make sure you have enough inventory, and our accounting and billing software can help you keep track of your money. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you make the most of the holiday season, or to start a free trial of our premium software suite.