Is Your Business Ready For Small Business Saturday?

BY: ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2012

Like it or not, the holiday season is upon us. While it may largely be known as “the the season for giving,” American consumers and retailers alike acknowledge that the holidays may better represent a season of spending.

Tis the Season to Spend

The main event is and always has been Black Friday, during which Americans spent a record $52.4 billion dollars in 2011, which was up 16% from 2010. The Friday after Thanksgiving represents a spending frenzy, as nationwide retailers compete to open earlier and offer the most extravagant deals to eager buyers. A more recent shopping revolution, Cyber Monday, came about during the mid-2000's in order to meet the needs of a marketplace ready to embrace e-commerce. Shoppers spent over $1.25 billion online last year; one can only imagine what this year's numbers will look like as shoppers become more rabid and the deals get more extreme. 

What About Small Businesses?

Unfortunately, these infamous shopping days don't do much for small businesses. The average SMB simply cannot compete with big box brands slashing prices left and right, nor can they match the marketing blitz that such stores manage to roll out during the holiday season. It's almost incredible to behold so much money being spent during the holidays, especially in such a down economy. But who sees that money? For the most part, not SMBs.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday represent huge business for big-box brands and online retailers, respectively. How can small businesses get their slice of the pie?

Thanks to Small Business Saturday, small businesses are finally getting their chance.

Established in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday represents an opportunity for small businesses to get their share of the holiday shopping craze. The numbers prove that consumers are willing and ready to spend; there's no reason why SMBs can't get in on the action. Small Business Saturday takes place on the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, encouraging shoppers to spend some time at their local brick-and-mortar establishments and offer some support. The event not only attempts to show SMBs some love, but also works to encourage entrepreneurs and remind shoppers that small businesses provide something to their communities that the mega-retailers simply cannot replicate.

Small Business Saturday takes place on November 24, 2012 and represents a chance for small businesses not only to reach out their communities, but also to make a lasting impression. While the event may not be quite on the level of Black Friday or Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is most certainly gathering steam. With over 2.9 million “Likes” on Facebook, small businesses are looking to make a splash and establish the event as part of the holiday shopping season for years to come.

How Can My Business Participate?

Especially in today's economy, small businesses need all the help they can get. An event such as Small Business Saturday is an excellent opportunity for just about any business to put its name out there and gain visibility in the local community. What can your business in order to prepare and participate?

A large component of Small Business Saturday comes in the form of Internet marketing and Social Media. In addition to the mass following on Facebook, Small Business Saturday is also taking to avenues such as Twitter by utilizing the #smallbusinesssaturday hashtag. Take advantage of your current Social Media outlets and business directory listings to let your customers know that you're participating in Small Business Saturday. Furthermore, the Small Business Saturday Facebook page contains resources such as badges and create-your-own ads to help you further get the word out.

When it comes to advertising, physical signage and advertisements certainly cannot hurt, either. Take advantage of the event's official Small Business Saturday promotion tools or create your own. Small Business Saturday is all about generating buzz, getting customers talking and making sure they get into your store; whether it's online or on the street, be creative and do what it takes in order to make it happen.

While you may not be able to entice buyers with half-price iPads, you may still run deals specific to Small Business Saturday in order to create some buzz. Utilize the aforementioned Social Media channels to advertise such deals. SBS customers are encouraged to allocate at least $50 of their monthly spending budget to the event, so plan accordingly.

Roughly 103 million shoppers took part in Small Business Saturday last year. That number looks only to grow during this year's event. By participating this year, you not only contribute to the growth and legitimacy of the event nationally and within your community, but you may also learn a thing or two as it pertains to getting customers to come through your door.

The Bottom Line

Business may not be booming right now for your small business, and understandably so. In today's economic climate, consumers are typically hesitant to spend. During the holidays, however, that hesitation goes out the window. By taking part in Small Business Saturday, your business has a prime opportunity to increase its visibility and the visibility of the small business community at large. Will you be a part of the action this year?

About the Author

Brent Barnhart
Brent Barnhart is a regular contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com. He covers a wide variety of topics through the written word, including content marketing, Internet marketing and small business trends. ChamberofCommerce.com is dedicated to helping small businesses grow their presence on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
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