Small Business Saturday
As I was getting ready to write this article, I noticed an article that discussed K-Mart was opening at 6 am on Thursday for Black Friday. The day before I read about many more stores opening at 8 pm on Thanksgiving.
Can a small business owner compete and, if so, how? You can and you should. Last year, an estimated $5.5 billion was spent with small business owners on that one day alone.
First, don’t panic. You still have time to get ready. Small businesses have had competition for years and many of them have found ways to stay in business and grow.
That said, you do need to make some plans. Are there some specials you want to focus on that day? Some business owners are working together in a cooperative effort. I have read that some are focusing on making the day a mini-party, celebrating who they are and treating their customers to maybe hot apple cider and a treat. What is the story or message you want to sell. Certainly part of it is joining into the national effort. Free materials are available online. Just search the term “small business Saturday.”
This is a great time to use social media. Send regular messages through the social media you use. If you haven’t started an online marketing effort yet, maybe now is the time. There will be lots of press about this event. Connect with it. Engage in the conversations. Start building your brand and reputation.
Engage your customers to provide their stories. Get permission from those customers who have sent you a thank-you to use their words, pictures and maybe video in your efforts. Nothing sells as well as loyal ambassadors.
And as you work on your own business, contact other small business owners. Become your local champion for this effort. Take pride in who you are. Small businesses remain a key element in our economy.
The last thing on your list of things to do is start getting ready for Small Business Saturday 2014. Don’t make this a one-time event but the culmination of a year-long effort. Remember, successful businesses are not in a sprint. They recognize that starting, growing and maintaining is a marathon, or even more like a steeple chase with hurdles, water jumps, and uneven terrain.
Small Business Saturday is coming. Make it a great day for visibility, awareness, and sales for you and others like yourself.