Between the crazy long lines of Black Friday and the online deals of Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday.
This national holiday, first celebrated in 2010, spotlights the importance of shopping at small businesses. Small businesses are major drivers in the U.S. economy, spurring local job creation and innovation while also fostering entrepreneurship among women, minorities, and veterans. Entrepreneurs are truly the backbone of the American economy.
Small Business Saturday gives small businesses the opportunity to draw shoppers in with deals on their products or services just in time for the holidays. The COVID-19 pandemic has made decorating and planning for in-store events particularly challenging this year. However, we’ve put together this guide to help make the day a success.
When is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday falls on Saturday, November 27, 2021 this year.
This year has put a spotlight on small businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the backbone of the economy, it’s vital that struggling entrepreneurs have an opportunity to rebuild. However, rebuilding comes with its own unique challenges, including:
Many businesses experienced a dip in revenue after the economic shut-down. There are strategies that may help you boost your cash flow, including getting a small business loan or cutting back on unnecessary expenses. Visit our blog post for more information: Solving Small Business Cash Flow Issues Due to the Pandemic.
Last April, about 4 million people in the US quit their jobs, which was the highest rate of resignation since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started publishing the data in 2000. In the "Great Resignation," many small businesses face an uphill battle for labor. Some employees are leaving for better pay and benefits, while some are leaving the workforce and relying on government programs.
In a recent survey from the National Federation of Independent Business, 50% of independent businesses said they had job openings they are struggling to fill. Keep this in mind when you put together your holiday hiring plans. Start early and consider enhancing compensation to attract talent.
You can also consider enlisting the help of friends and family. However, because these relationships tend to be informal, it’s good practice to engage in appropriate conversations with your friends and family to ensure that your small business is being portrayed to the public in a professional manner.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have to spend additional dollars to be in compliance with new state health and safety regulations. Below, we’ve outlined some best practices to help keep your place of business safe. Be sure to share the safety steps you’ve taken to alleviate the anxiety shoppers or staff may be feeling. This might be the first time they’ve ventured out into a public place since the onset of the pandemic.
How to Prepare for Small Business Saturday
Managing cash flow is increasingly among the most critical of many challenges facing small business owners. Sixty percent of small business owners say that cash flow has been a problem at their business, and the problem has increased as these business owners navigate the post-pandemic economy.
Now is a great time to apply for funding, especially if you previously received a PPP loan and the funds are being exhausted. Check your credit scores and apply for financing sooner rather than later. There are many loan options for small businesses. SBA 7(a) loans, with low rates and long terms, are a particularly good choice.
A bank term loan is also a solid choice for business owner preparation. Bank term loans often require less paperwork than a bank term loan. They have a wide use of approved proceeds and paying off term loans responsibly can help build credit so you can qualify for better priced funding down the line.
You’ll likely put a lot of hard work into preparing for Small Business Saturday. Inexpensive options for promoting your products and services include advertising on social media platforms where your brand is well represented. If you have a brick and mortar location, signage is another great way to get the message out. Consider writing a blog post, newsletter, or mass email blast to ensure consumers know you’re participating and what they can expect from your business.
Anticipate a surge in business and pay attention to your available inventory. Consider stocking up on products that you’re promoting. If you do happen to run out of an item, have a “rain-check” option ready to present, which would allow the customer to take advantage of the same discount when you’re restocked. For a high-level exploration of inventory management, review our blog post: How to Organize Inventory for a Small Business.
4. Partner with other entrepreneurs
Networking with other business owners for Small Business Saturday can also offer big benefits such as:
- Saving money on shared expenses like marketing or advertising
- Expanding your customer base
- Holding events together to increase exposure
- Bundling products
For some more ideas on how to partner with other small businesses, review this SmartBiz Loans ® blog post: Ways Your Small Business Can Support Other Small Businesses.
5. Prepare your staff
A busy day can make any employee exhausted. However, if you set expectations in advance, you can prepare them for elevated activity. You can do this by simply fostering the right attitude as well as being staffed appropriately. Review Customer Service Skills for Success to help reinforce the behavior you want your staff to embrace.
Small Business Saturday Follow-up
Your promotional push shouldn’t end when you close the doors on Saturday. Use the momentum you’ve built to sail through the rest of the holiday shopping season. Here are some ways to continue to build revenue:
Send a thank you
One of your Small Business Saturday strategies should be to collect contact information from your customers. Offer a small discount if they sign up for email alerts, text messages, or your newsletter. Send out a thank you to your Saturday customers and let them know you appreciate their business. You can also give them a peek at upcoming specials or new products to keep them engaged and excited.
Reinforce the importance of shopping small
Remind your Small Business Saturday patrons about the importance of shopping small. It has a great economic and community impact when consumers buy from entrepreneurs throughout the year, and it’s important that the public is reminded of this reality.
Capitalize on other special shopping days
Don’t forget about Cyber Monday, which is being held immediately after Small Business Saturday. If you have a website, make sure it’s updated and features any special deals you’re offering. Promote online sales heavily on social media and send out an email blast to your contact list.
The National Day of Giving, also known as Giving Tuesday, is held the day after Cyber Monday. Use this as an opportunity to give back to your community. For example, you can donate a portion of your sales to an organization in need or collect items like canned foods or clothing for a non-profit that needs support.
Encourage positive reviews
Encourage happy customers to leave comments about your business on Yelp® , Google® reviews, TrustPilot® , or other review platforms. The internet is usually the first stop for shoppers and great word-of-mouth is invaluable. Make sure you’ve claimed your business and that all your business information is correct and up-to-date.
Plan for next year
Finally, it’s never too early to start planning for next year’s Small Business Saturday. Keep this Resource Guide handy to review strategies and keep the available marketing materials top of mind. Plan specials, product bundles, and discounts early so you can budget accordingly.
The SmartBiz Small Business Blog has additional resources to help you host a successful Small Business Saturday.