How to make the most of Small Business Saturday

Small business owners share tips ahead of Small Business Saturday, which celebrates shopping at local, independent stores.

Small Business Saturday, a grassroots campaign that encourages consumers to shop locally rather than at large retailers, has released its list of featured enterprises: the Small Biz 100.

This year’s Small Business Saturday will take place on Saturday 2 December. Here, previous participants share their top tips for the latest cohort.

Jemima Willcox, founder, Jemima Willcox Photography

I took part in Small Business Saturday 2016 while working as a freelance photographer and social media manager at a local, award-winning optician. The event falls on the same day as a very big independent festival: the Mill Road Winter Fair. Last year, due to the popularity of the fair, footfall was really high.

These are my top tips for how to get involved:

  1. Collaborate: get involved with people and enterprises that complement your business; this will help amplify your reach.
  2. Give something for free on the day: we provided free stollen and spiced apple cider.
  3. Use social media to run a competition, but make sure that you’re adding value to your customers by giving them something that they want. You can also use this to collect email addresses for your email marketing purposes.
  4. Provide a discount and donate a certain proportion to a charity: we offered half-price eye tests and donated money to Sightsavers, thereby providing a service that someone needs and giving them a feel-good factor when booking.
  5. Plan everything out a month in advance.
  6. Educate: explain why shopping with an independent is better for the local economy than with larger firms.

Sanjay Aggarwal, co-founder, Spice Kitchen

The whole experience was amazing, from the buzz on social media and being featured in the local and national press, to connecting with
other small businesses and attending brilliant local and national events. Actually being in Downing Street and serving up our mulled apple juice with rum was also quite surreal.

Ensure that you write a press release (the Small Business Saturday team provide you sample ones) and send this out to local newspapers and radio stations, as well as any wider press contacts that you have.
I would also make sure that you write a blog post about it and inform your followers on social media.

We gave out free mulling spices to every customer who ordered from us on our particular day (each firm is featured for a day on social media ahead of the December date), which was successful, especially as we sell a lot of products at Christmas time.

Don’t forget to promote these giveaways on social media.

We also collaborated with Fifth Dimension Chocolates, another company from the Small Biz 100, to create a spiced chocolate flavour together. Collaborating and connecting with other businesses from the list does you no harm.

 Jo Smedley, managing director, Red Herring Games

It was great to be involved in the Small Business Saturday campaign last year. We had the opportunity to champion small companies both regionally and nationally, and network with other great movers and shakers in the small business community.

It was a thrilling run up to the festive peak sales day, and gave added focus to our own sales and marketing campaigns for 2017.

My top tip? This award is your ticket to really showcasing what you can do. You’re now in the Small Biz 100 community, and it’s one that will support you not just this year, but in the years to follow.

So make sure that you shine on your day, but also support the community in your region, and the other 100 winners. This is a great way to give back to the community: get involved and organise something to celebrate the day.

Small Business Saturday reaches millions of customers and businesses each year – be part of the fifth year and get involved …

www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com