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7 Ways You Can Prepare for Small Business Saturday

Mariah Bliss

Small Business Saturday is on November 24th, 2018 - and if you didn’t already have that date circled in your calendar, I hope I can change your mind!

Here’s why: Small Business Saturday (founded by American Express) is like the antidote to Black Friday, where customers are encouraged to spend their money on Main Street and at local small businesses. It’s an unofficial holiday meant to celebrate just how impactful small businesses are within their communities, bringing entrepreneurs in the spotlight where they belong.

Since its launch in 2010, Small Business Saturday has definitely grown in size, with thousands of businesses participating across the country. That means your customers are already focused on spending their dollars with smaller shops - and if you aren’t participating, you could be missing out on potentially your biggest shopping day of the year!

Small Business Saturday is Just Around the Corner - Here’s What to Do

November 24th is almost here, which is why I wanted to focus on giving you the 7 easiest ways to take advantage of Small Business Saturday. Don’t worry if you haven’t done any advertising or haven’t even HEARD of Small Business Saturday until now. These steps should help you get enough exposure to bring more customers to your door!

  1. Start sending out these FREE flyers.

    Part of preparing for Small Business Saturday (especially this late in the game) is ensuring that you don’t have to put in tons of extra work. That’s why American Express has made life a lot easier by uploading a template flyer that you can start posting around town or stuffing in mailboxes.

    It’s really super easy to use: Just download the flyer here, fill out some details about your business, and boom - you’re done! They’ve made it so that you can post this flyer wherever you want, or you can cut off the bottom of the flyer and turn it into mail.

    It’ll probably take you about 10 to 20 minutes to fill these flyers out, but it’s time well spent. It’s one of the fastest ways to get the word out there about your business and how you’ll be celebrating!

  2. Don’t get stuck on event ideas.

    A lot of small businesses prep for Small Business Saturday by hosting pop-up markets, special breakfasts, and block parties. These events take a lot of time to plan out and prepare, so I recommend being cautious about being too ambitious, especially since November 24th is coming up fast. It’s great to plan an event for customers, but consider these questions:

    • Do you have the time to prep for an event?
    • Do you have extra staff on hand to help?
    • If you don’t have the staff, do you have time to find that help?
    • Will your event be different from other events in the area?
    • Do you have enough marketing materials to advertise the event?
    • How will you get customers in your store to celebrate?
    • Do you really have time to prep for an event?

    I don’t want to keep repeating the same point, but every event you hold reflects your business - and if you have an event that wasn’t thoroughly planned out, customers may associate it with your brand.

    If you really don’t have enough time to hold a special event outside of celebrating Small Business Saturday, that’s okay! Consider this year a learning experience so you’re better prepared for the next Small Business Saturday.

  3. Get some extra help.

    One of the best ways to take advantage of Small Business Saturday is to get extra help, especially if you’re planning on staying open later (which you should!). Ask your employees if they’ll be around for the holiday weekend and if they have time to spare to pitch in. Even if they can only be around for a couple of hours, the extra hands can help.

    If you’re a solo business owner, don’t worry - you can still find extra help before Small Business Saturday. Ask friends or family members if they have any time to volunteer at your store. Remember to ask folks whom you trust to get the job done, as you don’t want to accidentally provide bad customer service because your cousin loves blasting offensive music from his smartphone 24/7.

    Still can’t find help? That’s okay - staying open for longer might be able to help with the tide of customer traffic. Just take note of how many customers you had this year so you’ll be better prepared for Small Business Saturday in 2019.

  4. Plan out special deals and discounts.

    Want to get people through your doors on November 24th? Consider offering special deals and discounts throughout the day!

    Just like big-box retailers do on Black Friday, you could have doorbusters (sales for the first customers that arrive at your shop), random sales, and closing deals for customers who end up coming to your store towards the end of the day. This is your opportunity to get creative, so take inventory of what you have and see what kind of deals you might be able to offer.

    Here’s a clever trick: Take careful note of what discounts or deals do better than others. Use that information to map out additional sales for the remainder of the year, as popular deals are more likely to bring foot traffic to your shop.

    Plus, you can repeat the best deals for next year’s Small Business Saturday!

  5. Post, post, post!

    You’ve only got a few days left to ramp up attention for Small Business Saturday (most people will be too busy enjoying a food coma on Thanksgiving), so start posting on your social media channels ASAP.

    I recommend posting on both your personal AND business social media accounts. Let folks know you’re celebrating Small Business Saturday, along with any special deals and discounts you’ll be offering. If you’re keeping your store open for longer, let them know that as well.

    Aim for a cadence of 1-2 posts per day, then several posts on the actual day itself. The extra attention could bring in a lot more foot traffic, especially if you encourage friends and family members to share your posts.

  6. Update your website.

    If you have a website (and if you don’t, get on that ASAP!), add a special announcement letting your site visitors know that you’re celebrating Small Business Saturday. This is especially relevant if you have an online store, as it gives customers a good reason to shop small even if they’re not exactly local.

    Whether you add a special banner to your site’s homepage or just whip up and share a new blog post, make sure your website is playing its part in attracting folks to your door on November 24th.

  7. Enjoy yourself!

    It might sound a little cheesy, but seriously - have fun. Small Business Saturday is one of those rare occasions where people can actually do more than just pay lip service to all the small businesses that support this country. Your customers want to support all the hard work you do, so definitely take advantage of the good vibes coming your way on November 24th.

    Let us know how you celebrated Small Business Saturday!

About the author

Mariah Bliss
Mariah Bliss
I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!

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