With Small Business Saturday just around the corner, small businesses across the country are preparing to kick off the official holiday shopping season in a big way. On Nov. 25, millions of Americans will spend their hard-earned dollars at their local and independently owned businesses. It’s perhaps the biggest event of the year for the small business community, but the celebration can actually continue all year long.
Small Business Saturday grows year after year, as more businesses and consumers join the campaign. According to American Express, which spearheads Small Business Saturday, 112 million consumers shopped small on the big day last year. That’s a 13 percent increase from 2015. Additionally, last year’s celebration saw 63 percent more Neighborhood Champions, small business owners who opt for a larger role in the day, and 13 percent more members of the Small Business Saturday Coalition, a broad group of associations that support the shop small movement.
With the campaign on the up and up, it only makes sense to extend the celebration. By incorporating the techniques used and lessons learned on Small Business Saturday, businesses can find success all year long.
Tell Your Main Street Story
Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for small businesses to declare their independence and distinguish themselves as locally owned. If the growing consumer support for Small Business Saturday says anything, it’s that Americans want to shop small and buy local. To do that, they need to know what small businesses exist in the neighborhoods near them. On Small Business Saturday, shoppers will likely identify your store by the festive décor and shop small signage. Throughout the rest of the year, consumers can identify and remember your business by its Main Street Story.
Simply put, a business’s Main Street Story is its unique biography, including how it began and how it has deepened its roots within the community. Once you’ve made new connections with customers on Small Business Saturday, begin to build relationships by sharing your business’s story through social media, e-newsletters, local events and word of mouth.
On Small Business Saturdays, some businesses do more than celebrate in their stores – they rally their communities. Small business owners can get their neighborhoods excited to shop anytime of the year, particularly when they work together. No matter what the season, consider working with your local Main Street organization or the other small businesses on your block to put together timely events and attention-grabbing campaigns. When there’s no campaign or event to announce, cross-promote each other by handing out coupons or flyers to your customers about the other small businesses on the block. Building strength in numbers should be a year-round tactic, not just a post-Thanksgiving occasion.
Leverage Larger Campaigns
Another way to build strength in numbers is to leverage larger campaigns. Part of what makes Small Business Saturday so successful is its ability to send a national message to individual communities. Small business across the country unite for a single celebration that’s recognizable to consumers across the country.
Throughout the rest of the year, be on the lookout for larger campaigns that you can leverage in your own community. For instance, National Small Business Week takes place in the spring. Independent We Stand hosts the annual America’s Main Street contest in the spring and summer and the Indie Award contest in the fall. All year long, you can join Main Street organizations in your vicinity, such as Local First Colorado or Keep Saint Petersburg Local.
When it comes to the holiday shopping season, Small Business Saturday is synonymous with success. As you prepare to celebrate this November, take note of the lessons and techniques that you implement into your year-round small business strategy.