How Can Local Non-Retail Businesses Get Involved in Small Business Saturday?
Providing a useful boost to the local economy as the holiday season arrives
Colorado cities, like Boulder and Fort Collins, typically do a fantastic job of encouraging residents to kick off the holiday season by visiting local boutiques and restaurants on Small Business Saturday, but what about local small businesses that operate outside of the retail space? Contractors, accountants, mechanics and other service providers are just as important to our local economies, so why shouldn’t they get involved in the festivities, Saturday, November, 25, 2017. They may not be able to invite customers into their storefronts, but that does not mean they cannot take advantage of the day, promote their businesses and boost their bottom lines heading into a new year.
American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 as a way to encourage people across the country to support small, local operators. The following year, Congress unanimously passed a resolution of support for Small Business Saturday, and since, the day has flourished into a boom for local businesses. In 2016 alone, shoppers reported spending $15.4 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday, meaning there is more than enough money to get those small businesses that provide a service involved. Some outside-the-box ways that Colorado’s own small businesses, outside the retail space, can participate include:
- OFFER A DISCOUNT
The most obvious way to get involved with Small Business Saturday is to offer customers some sort of discounted service or special. Depending on the service you provide, you may want to consider offering the special for an extended period of time, like the week leading up to or following Small Business Saturday. Mechanics that offer a discount on state inspections can attract new customers, while HVAC contractors that offer a free cleaning of customer’s heating systems can ensure their units are in tip-top shape before the busy winter season arrives.
- REINVEST IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROPERTIES
A great way to promote those Small Business Saturday specials is to share them over your business’ social platforms. Social media allows businesses to interact with prospective customers. Even if you’re not offering a discount or special, sharing Small Business Saturday related materials across your platforms will bring personality to your business while showing your customers that you are an active and committed member of the local community.
- REENGAGE WITH CUSTOMERS
Email provides small businesses with a great way to communicate with customers on a regular basis. Even if your business isn’t big enough for a full-blown email marketing campaign, Small Business Saturday is a great time of year to send out that “Happy Holidays” message, which will get your business back in your customer’s minds at exactly the right time, considering many will be budgeting and planning for their new year projects. Include your Facebook and other social handles in the email for even greater engagement.
- PREP FOR THE NEW YEAR
The start of the calendar year is a hectic time for all small businesses, so use Small Business Saturday as an early opportunity to assess the state of your business. Tax season will be here before you know it, so make sure all bookkeeping is up to date. Businesses can also consider new technology that streamlines specific business workflows. Use Small Business Saturday to take a holistic view of your business operations.
- PREPARE FOR THE WORST
The recent hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast and Caribbean should be a reminder to American small businesses that disaster can strike at any time, especially during the Colorado winters. Fire, theft and snow fall happen, whether you are ready or not, so make sure your business is prepared in case a disaster hits. The first step to disaster-proofing your business is to gather, organize and digitize all critical business records so your business data is safe no matter what happens.
Small Business Saturday is a time when local communities can celebrate mom and pop businesses and provide a useful boost to the local economy as the holiday season arrives. So even if you are not a traditional retail store or restaurant, small businesses of all types should consider getting involved in some way. Even if your business is not comfortable with offering discounts or specials, just having a presence, whether it is a booth on Main Street that passes out hot chocolate, or sharing promotional Small Business Saturday content on social platforms, those that are involved will be seen as vibrant members of the local economy – which can be a valued characteristic to prospective customers within your community.
Kevin Miller joined the Neat Company in April, 2017. He currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer overseeing all of Neat's brand, marketing and revenue operations.