Free Small Business Saturday Resource Guide

Small Business Saturday 2020 is being held on Saturday, November 28 in United States. According to the 2019 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 97% of consumers who shopped on Small Business Saturday agree that small businesses are essential to their community and 95% reported that the day makes them want to shop or eat at small, independently-owned businesses all year long, not just during the designated “Shop Small” day.

This year, small businesses are more important than ever. We know 2020 has brought a lot of stress to small business owners, from deciding whether to keep going to figuring out financing.

Download our Back to Business Guide here for ideas and inspiration on how to bounce back from the events of this year:

 

2020 challenges

This year has put a spotlight on small businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic. As the backbone of the economy, it’s vital that struggling entrepreneurs rebuild. However, rebuilding comes with its own unique challenges this year including:

Cash flow

Many businesses experienced a dip in revenue after the economic shut-down. There are strategies to help boost your cash flow that include getting a small business loan or cutting back on unnecessary expenses. Our blog post has more information: How to Manage Sudden Small Business Cash Flow Problems.

Staffing

One important component to prepare for increased business before and after Small Business Saturday is to make sure you’ve hired enough employees. Areas that need coverage likely include customer service, order fulfillment, inventory management, accounting tasks, and more. Unfortunately, staff decreases – either with layoffs, furloughs, or letting employees go can put you in a bind. Hiring temporary workers is one strategy you can use to staff up. Use our guide to determine the type of employee you need (temporary, contract, part-time) and where to source: Hiring Holiday Help for Your Small Business.

As a last resort, consider enlisting the help of friends and family. Just be sure to train them properly so they present your business in a professional and positive light.

Safety

In light of the coronavirus, you might have to spend additional dollars to be in compliance with state regulations. We’ve outlined best practices to keep your place of business safe below. Be sure to share the safety steps you’ve taken to alleviate any anxiety shoppers or staff may be feeling. This might be the first time they’ve ventured out into a public place since the pandemic shut down.

How to prepare for Small Business Saturday

1. Funding

In a recent survey by SCORE, 75% of small business owners rate their company’s cash flow in 2019 as “good” or “very good”. Now is a great time to apply for funding, especially if you received a PPP loan and the funds are dwindling. Check your credit scores and apply for financing while your numbers are strong. There are many loan options for small business. SBA 7(a) loans with low rates and long terms are a particularly good choice right now. As part of the ongoing coronavirus debt relief efforts, the SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a) loans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a) loans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020.

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 responsibly can help build credit so you can qualify for better priced funding down the line.

There are many other financing opportunities for a small business owner these days including business lines of credit and business credit cards.

2. Promotion

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 you brand is well represented. If you have a bricks and mortar location, signage is another great way to get the message out. Consider writing a blog post, newsletter, or mass email blast to make sure consumers know you’re participating and what they can expect.

3. Inventory

Anticipate a surge in business and pay attention to your available inventory. Stock up on products that you’re promoting. If you do happen to run out of an item, have a “rain-check” ready to present allowing the customer the same discount when you’re restocked. For a high-level exploration of inventory management, review Inventory Management for Small Business Explained.

2. Seek out free resources.

American Express offers free signage, email templates, web badges, posters, and other marketing materials to get your brand out there. Download materials that you can customize.

3. Partner with other entrepreneurs

Networking with other business owners for Small Business Saturday can offer big benefits such as:

  • Saving money on shared expenses like marketing or advertising
  • Expanding your customer base
  • Holding events together
  • Bundling products

For more ideas, review this SmartBiz Loans blog post: Ways Your Small Business Can Support Other Small Businesses.

4. Prepare your staff

A busy day can make any employee weary. However, if you set expectations in advance, you can prepare them for elevated activity. You can do this by simply encouraging the right attitude and being staffed appropriately. Review Customer Service Skills for Success to help reinforce the behavior you want your staff to embrace.

5. Take safety precautions in light of COVID-19

Stay on top of the local and national news so you’ll be prepared and compliant when opening. Strategies to keep yourself, your employees, and your customers safe include wearing protective gloves, requiring a facemask when shopping, making hand washing/sanitizing stations easily accessible, and installing signage on the floor to keep customer distancing easy.

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 shopping season. Here are 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 with your business.

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.

Capitalize on other special shopping days

Don’t forget Cyber Monday, 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 GivingTuesday, is held the day after Cyber Monday. Use this as an opportunity to give back to your community. 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.

Check out our 2020 Marketing Calendar: When to Promote Your Business with 12 months of creative observations like “Drink Wine Day” and “The Great American Clean Up”.

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 profile and that all 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.

Final thoughts

The SmartBiz Small Business Blog has additional resources to help you host a successful Small Business Saturday. We spoke with San Francisco business owners, where SmartBiz is based, to learn more about their business and plans for this important day.

We wish you and your business the best for 2020’s out-of-the-ordinary Small Business Saturday.

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