What is Small Business Saturday? All You Need

small business saturday
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Small Business Saturday is an annual event that encourages people to purchase locally, both in person and online, at small companies. This event is held on November 28th each year and represents a huge chance for small companies to enhance sales during the holiday shopping season.

To assist you in preparing for this year’s Small Business Saturday, we have developed a simple guide that covers all of the information you will need to make the most of Small Business Saturday.

What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is a one-day event held each November on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It arrived on November 26, 2022.

American Express organised the event in 2010 to encourage support for small businesses during the Great Recession. The United States Senate issued a resolution in support of Small Business Saturday in 2011. Since then, the event has spread across the country, with participants from all 50 states.

Small Business Saturday occurs between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when people may already be shopping for the holidays online or at well-known businesses. The event’s focus on small enterprises is intended to showcase their relevance in local communities so that they are not overshadowed by larger corporations.

Why is Small Business Saturday Important?

Small businesses have long been regarded as the American economy’s backbone and heart. Successful small companies bring a community together, enhance real estate value, and help keep local money local, all of which benefit the economies of their respective communities. Small businesses pay local taxes, which means that any money spent there supports things like parks, schools, and emergency services.

Small Business Saturday is also an excellent opportunity for small business owners to make some last-minute earnings before the end of the year. According to the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, almost 110 million consumers nationally “shopped small” on Small Business Saturday 2019, spending a total of £19.6 billion at independent neighbourhood retailers and eateries.

Who Participates in Small Business Saturday?

The primary goal of this event is to encourage consumers to shop at small and locally owned companies. Retail establishments and restaurants are included, as are other small enterprises such as salons, grocery stores, and service-based firms. It also applies to small enterprises that operate online.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a broad definition of what makes a small business: any business with less than 500 employees. According to those standards, Small Business Saturday could include sole proprietorships, partnerships, small corporations, and/or limited liability companies.

American Express provides an online search engine to assist consumers in locating small companies in their area that they may support on Small Business Saturday and throughout the year. The Shop Small map features a variety of businesses that participate in the event both in-person and online.

When is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday will be held on November 28th, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year is an excellent time to increase sales and recover from losses sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, more consumers are willing to purchase locally and support small companies. As a business owner, you are probably aware that smaller businesses suffered the most when COVID-19 initially became an issue. Fortunately, you may capitalise on this day by increasing your marketing efforts and reaching out to your dedicated audience. You’d be shocked at how many folks are in the giving mood this time of year, especially in 2020.

How to Participate in Small Business Saturday

As a consumer, the greatest way to support Small Business Saturday is to shop locally and urge friends and family to do the same. This involves purchasing at both local brick-and-mortar stores and small companies that operate online. You may, for example, support an online boutique or a digital service-based business. To promote the event on social media, use the hashtag #ShopSmall.

If you want to participate in the event as a small business owner, American Express has a number of resources to assist you. They include promotional materials such as posters and signage that can be utilised in your store if you run a physical business, as well as digital marketing tools. These services are offered at no cost to business owners who are American Express merchants.

Small business owners can also prepare for the event by doing the following:

  • Organising special sales events to boost Small Business Saturday spending
  • Organising email marketing campaigns to notify clients about Small Business Saturday sales events
  • Offering special promotions or discounts to entice customers to shop
  • Collaboration with other small businesses to increase awareness about Small Business Saturday

Aside from assisting small business owners with marketing for this yearly event, American Express provides unique discounts and promotions to assist businesses in saving money. In addition, the company assists small business owners in researching shopping trends in order to maximise Small Business Saturday sales activities.

Neighbourhood Champions, which are organisations that promote Small Business Saturday locally, also lend their support to the event. Local libraries, visitor centres, chambers of commerce, and other local business groups are examples of these organisations. Neighbourhood Champions can host their own activities to promote the event and encourage locals to shop at small businesses. As a customer, you may help Neighbourhood Champions in your community by volunteering with one of these organisations, if one is available in your region.

Tips for Small Business Saturday Success

These five recommendations help prepare your business for this year’s Small Business Saturday. They are as follows:

#1. Do something special.

Small Business Saturday is a major day, so you should do something to commemorate it and encourage more people to visit. You can run special promotions, hold an event (such as a kid-friendly activity, a shop-and-sip event, or a food sampling), bring in local entertainers or craftsmen, or provide an additional incentive to spend, such as discounts or donating a portion of the day’s earnings to a local charity.

#2. Spread the word.

Most Americans are aware of the campaign now that it is in its 11th year, but your community may be unaware that your store is participating in the day.

You can share the story of your business on Small Business Saturday even if you aren’t hosting any special activities or promotions. Post on social media with the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday or #SBS, mail or email fliers or newsletters, or place an ad in your local paper. Let people know you’re there, inform them about your products or services, and express your enthusiasm for Small Business Saturday.

#3. Consider it the start of your year.

For small businesses, the start of the calendar year is a frantic time. Take advantage of Small Business Saturday as an early opportunity to evaluate the status of your business.

Do you require seasonal help? Is there any new technology you can use to streamline specific business processes? Utilise Small Business Saturday to conduct a comprehensive analysis of your business operations. This might assist you in preparing for the following round of major shopping holidays as well as the start of the calendar year.

The last thing you want is to run out of your most popular items before the season starts. That is why, during the holiday season, it is vital to understand your product or service expectations. Plan ahead of time and stock up on popular things. Examine the purchase history for your busiest shopping days to get a sense of what your customers want, and then display them in conveniently accessible sections of your store.

#5. Offer special discounts and promotions.

Small Business Saturday, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is a perfect day to provide exceptional bargains to encourage clients. According to a 2016 survey, the most popular Small Business Saturday promotions in 2015 were limited-time deals (24%), free gifts (21%), coupon discounts (20%), and “buy one, get one free” deals (19%).

#6. Reinvest in social media.

When things get hectic in business, social media is typically the first thing to go. However, you should consider it an essential component of your marketing strategy. Creative and purposeful content can attract consumers’ attention, resulting in shares and engagement.

Ideally, you should devise a strategy for marketing your Small Business. Saturday provides two to three weeks before it occurs. (However, if you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late!) Determine which platforms you will use, what you will post, and what you intend to achieve by posting. Are you attempting to increase foot traffic to your store? Are you attempting to raise product awareness?

Continue to publish once or twice a week in the lead up to the event, including all important information such as your location and any relevant promotion or event details.

#7. Boost your other marketing strategies.

In addition to social media marketing, evaluate your complete marketing plan and boost your advertising efforts. With Black Friday officially kicking off the holiday shopping season, now is a good moment to boost up your local marketing strategy and ensure that it maximises your chances of success.

Make it obvious in all of your marketing materials what you provide and why those offerings are unique to your store.

#8. Collaborate.

Do any other businesses in your area provide items or services that compliment yours? Is there a cheese shop near your wine business, or an outdoor gear outlet near your boat excursion company, for example?

If so, consider collaborating on Small Business Saturday. You may provide special discounts for shopping at both locations, promote product bundles, or sponsor crossover events, such as wine tasting while purchasing cheese. This is an excellent method to network with other small business owners in your region and develop your sense of community.

#9. Extend your hours.

Consider extending your hours on Small Business Saturday if you have the personnel. This can improve traffic by allowing customers more time to enter, making it easier for them to stop by before or after meeting their previous obligations or completing their regular shopping.

If you decide to extend your hours, be sure to publicise it as part of your Small Business Saturday marketing materials. Incorporate it into your social media postings, newsletters, emails, and newspaper advertisements.

#10. Customise the consumer experience.

On Small Business Saturday, you aren’t the only one in the market. To gain the support of your audience and compete with larger organisations (which are often more convenient options for many shoppers), you must create ways to personalise your clients’ experiences.

Consider why customers should choose you above other firms, and then use that as leverage to attract clients.

#11. Help your customers so they will help you.

Customer service is critical, especially for small firms trying to leave an impression. Make sure you have a good team of employees to assist with answering phone calls, addressing queries or complaints, providing live chat support, and providing direction when placing orders. By prioritising your consumers in this manner, you will demonstrate to them that you actually care and appreciate them, which is far more than most major firms provide.

#12. Modify your SEO strategy.

Search engine optimisation is one of the most significant methods a small business can undertake since it allows customers to find your website and learn more about it. Without strong SEO, you will not be as visible to your target audience, which can prevent you from earning many purchases. This year, SEO will be more crucial because many consumers will purchase online rather than in person. In other words, your SEO practises will account for a significant portion of your sales.

Who Runs Small Business Saturday?

American Express started the popular Small Business Saturday project in the United States in 2010, and it continues to be the campaign’s primary partner in the United Kingdom as part of its continued commitment to encourage people to shop small.

What Resources Are Available to Small Business Owners?

American Express offers a wide range of promotional materials, from posters and signage to customizable digital marketing materials. They are free for businesses that are American Express merchants.

Why Shop Local Small Business Saturday?

Local economies are stimulated when local enterprises are supported. Shopping small ensures that both your family and business owners across the country have a good Christmas sales season.

How Much Money Do Small Businesses Put Back into Their Communities?

According to American Express, 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business in the United States is reinvested in the community.

The Bottom Line

Small Business Saturday gives customers a unique opportunity to demonstrate their support for local businesses. It’s crucial to remember that this event is intended to inspire people to purchase small not only during the holidays but all year long. By purchasing locally, you can assist small business owners in keeping their doors open while also providing jobs and tax income to your community. Participating in this event as a small business owner could assist in providing a cash flow boost during the holidays.


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