The small business movement encourages consumers to shop small and local when making purchases, and their Small Business Saturday event is their primary push for this cause during the holiday spending season. This year, Small Business Saturday is November 24th, the day after Black Friday. There are many corporate supporters of this program, with American Express taking the lead, and the US Small Business Administration endorses this event. Print and Mail shops have two ways to join in on the fun and profit of Small Business Saturday, and there is no reason to pick just one.
There are many ways to participate in the program and American Express makes it easy. You don’t have to accept American Express to receive most benefits so it is worth the effort. Ways to directly participate include:
• Neighborhood Champion. You can become a Neighborhood Champion, which is someone who advocates “shop small” all year round and encourages 10 other neighborhood businesses to join them. Unfortunately, the application process is closed for this year due to high demand, but you should consider it for 2019.
• Promote Your Business. There are many free resources that you can customize, print, email and otherwise use to promote your support of and participation in Small Business Saturday. These materials can be created in both English and Spanish so everyone in your community will feel welcome.
• Join your Business Community in Promoting Small Business Saturday. This movement has grown from a few shops to organized events in all 50 states. Over 108 million consumers reported shopping or dining at local independently-owned businesses on Small Business Saturday last year. With these statistics, it’s likely that shops, restaurants and other businesses are participating in this program and you can become part of that group. Meet, coordinate, create a joint event, or take other actions to bolster everyone in your community.
• Make it Easy to Connect with Customers on Small Business Saturday. Clear the calendar, hire extra staff, and set up additional tables inside or out so that customers can easily place orders for Holiday cards, calendars, and other materials without long waits or hassle. Make this day about connecting with and serving them, and this goodwill will carry over into the coming year.
• Get on the List. If you accept American Express, you can be placed on their list of small businesses, which is posted year-round on their website. This free advertising makes a big difference for many small businesses before, during and after the holiday season.
There is no cost to participate in Small Business Saturday, and last year it generated over 12 billion dollars. If you aren’t participating yet, you should start right now.
It is probable that many of your neighbors participate in Small Business Saturday and may need additional marketing, packaging, and other promotional materials. Contact them now and offer discounts, from one small business to another, to help everyone have a successful holiday season. You can help customize the materials the owners may have downloaded from American Express, or print the information on shopping bags, balloons, banners and more, or help them with other print and mail needs. Through this effort, you will become more involved in your community and may acquire some new long-term clients in the process.
It’s not too late to participate in Small Business Saturday and there is no reason to stand on the sidelines. Just as important, you should promote your small business status throughout the year. More and more consumers are basing purchase choices on small business status, and you should take full advantage of this effective marketing position.