Big Opportunities to Celebrate Small Business Saturday

Big Opportunities to Celebrate Small Business SaturdaySmall Business Saturday is coming November 26, to the U.S. and December 3, to the UK. This is when shoppers are encouraged to launch their holiday gift buying at small, locally owned stores right in their own neighborhoods. This year, it is especially important to rally support for small businesses as they “navigate, retool and pivot from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic,” according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and American Express are joining forces to encourage shopping at nearly 32 million independent U.S. businesses and more than 5.5 million UK businesses throughout the holiday season.

Be part of the community

Created by American Express in partnership with the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation, the first event was observed in the U.S. in 2010. By the next year, it had been endorsed with a unanimous resolution in the Senate and with officials in all 50 states participating. The effort soon spread to the UK where Small Business Saturday is now in its tenth year.

American Express offers business owners no-cost marketing materials to promote Small Business Saturday with downloadable social posts, digital banners and printable posters. You can also place your business on their “Shop Small” map so potential customers can easily find you. In 2021, more than 17 million people received recommendations of places to shop through the map, according to American Express.

Small Business Saturday also draws high social media engagement from people sharing their small business stories as both satisfied shoppers and entrepreneurs interacting with their communities. Both in the U.S. and the U.K., business owners can connect with the Shop Small movement to help drive a busy holiday season.

Promote your business

These suggestions can help you make the most of Small Business Saturday.

  • Celebrate the benefits of small by sharing your brand story and highlighting what sets you apart from larger competitors.
  • Communicate in-store, online and through social media with current customers and encourage them to spread the word.
  • Connect your business with a cause that’s important to your local community and show your support.
  • Hold a special event at brick-and-mortar businesses, such as an open house with food or entertainment, or offer special sales, competitions or a sneak peak of new merchandise online.
  • Join forces with other businesses to promote Small Business Saturday together.
  • Consider extending store hours for in-person shopping or unique opportunities to engage online, such as with live chat or gift-giving advice.
  • Walk the talk by patronizing other small businesses for your needs, both physical products and support services such as accounting, advertising and maintenance.
  • Entice people with food and giveaways that are too hard to resist. You can drive additional traffic by featuring the lucky shoppers taking advantage of your special deals and rewards on social media.
  • Keep the connection going. No matter how much your efforts pay off during Small Business Saturday, the key will be to keep those customer relationships going. Build in ways to follow up often over the next few weeks of holiday shopping, and early in the new year when people are looking for a post-holiday pick-me-up.

Shop local yourself

Even small business owners sometimes need a reminder to shop local. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a corporate professional, when you shop small businesses, you help build a critical part of the economy. You can:

  • Search them out. Research online, explore local shopping areas, read local publications and talk to neighbors about the best small businesses you have yet to discover.
  • Post reviews and shout outs. Share your positive experiences online to help your favorite spots attract new fans.
  • Buy gift cards. This is a great way to directly acquaint others with local businesses by giving them the perfect excuse to stop by or check them out online to make a purchase.
  • Spread the word. Tell friends and family about great small businesses you frequent and why you love them.

Small business owners are pioneers who fuel the economy by providing jobs, innovation and growth; add uniqueness to towns and cities; offer more personalized service; and bring unique products and services to our lives. The holidays are the perfect time to show them some love.