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Ready for Small Business Saturday? Here’s your game plan.

3 min read

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Small Business Saturday, which happens on the Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving, can be a big revenue day for small businesses. Last year, independent retailers and restaurateurs alike reported just under $18 billion in sales in just one day.1

You’re probably swamped getting ready for the weeks ahead – stocking up on inventory, hiring and training seasonal help, analyzing sales trends, etc. But Small Business Saturday is considered to be the seasonal kick-off for independent businesses. If you want to turn the “Shop Small” movement into a big revenue day for your business, you need to get a plan in place. Set your small business up for success with these Small Business Saturday tips.

small business Saturday by the numbers

1. Engage with your community

Small Business Saturday is about more than dollars. It drives community involvement and encourages locals to support locals. Support by Neighborhood Champions, or local organizations that actively support and promote Small Business Saturday, has grown significantly over the years, according to American Express.3

In 2013, there were 1,400 Neighborhood Champions nationwide, but that number skyrocketed to 7,500 in 2018.4 That growth, when paired with yearly revenue milestones, shows that Small Business Saturday thrives because of community.

Network with and work alongside other local small businesses and encourage loyal customers to act as brand ambassadors. The more you engage with your community, the more successful your season is likely to be.

2. Make promotions special and advertise ahead of time

Love it or hate it, Black Friday is a force to contend with. Year after year, consumers continue to head out to brick-and-mortar retailers in droves. That can make it hard for independent retailers to enter the race a day later.

The truth is, it’s not always possible to price match or run aggressive promotions that beat major retailers, but you can capture audiences in other ways. Showcase exactly what it is that makes your business special – locally made food items, handcrafted gifts, and other products and services that directly contribute to business owners, artisans, and service providers alike.

Highlight what makes your business unique and spread the word about upcoming sales in advance of the holiday so shoppers can plan ahead and budget their holiday spending appropriately. How far in advance should you advertise? Most Black Friday ads drop during the first or second week of November,5 according to Deal News, so keep that timeframe in mind when planning your schedule.

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3. Get on Google

Concepts like search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are a major focal point for online retailers. But if your business is largely dependent on foot traffic, those marketing strategies may not cross your mind. Local search marketing, however, is an effective way to reach locals looking for products or services in their area.

One of the easiest ways to improve or even start your local search efforts is registering your business on Google My Business (GMB). Then add your key details like location, website, hours, contact information, business categories, photos, and reviews.

When potential customers turn to Google to find the perfect cup of coffee, trendy clothing, or handmade gifts, your business, along with directions and any other information you provide, will show up in their local search results.

4. Leverage social media

Using social media to grow your business isn’t a novel idea, but the community sentiment that often drives success is perfect for creating a buzz about your plans for Small Business Saturday.

Schedule posts, create events, go live on Instagram or Facebook, and get your followers involved. Your efforts should reflect the excitement of the season, the promotions you plan, and any special events you or your city have in store.

5. Invest in marketing

Social media is a form of marketing, but for many small businesses, marketing efforts must extend beyond online communities. Local newspapers, radio stations, television spots, or even some well-placed flyers can help you spread the word. This is particularly important if your business isn’t situated in a high-traffic location.

Small Business Saturday is only a few short weeks away, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to start planning and budgeting. In addition to traditional operational expenses, you’ll also need to factor in the increased cost of inventory, staffing, and marketing efforts. The more thorough your plan, the more likely you are to turn the Shop Small movement into big revenue for your business.

Plan your holiday strategy, check your budget, and evaluate your funding options, whether that means turning to existing capital or looking into short-term lending options, like QuickBooks Capital, that can help you raise awareness and have a high-earning holiday.

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