Have you heard a bit about a little thing call “Small Business Saturday”? If you’re a small business owner, this probably made your ears perk up. But….what is it? Who is it for? How do you get involved? And, SHOULD you get involved? There is no better way to answer these questions then to ask those who have the answers: small business owners just like you. So, just what is Small Business Saturday? Find out here.
What is Small Business Saturday?
On November 24th of this year, the 3rd annual Small Business Saturday will take place. American Express originally founded Small Business Saturday in response to the massive Black Friday, hoping to help small businesses who need more customers. The event has become a huge success, with a recent survey released by the NFIB and American Express revealing that 46% of independent merchants plan to utilize Small Business Saturday as part of their marketing strategy and 67% will offer discounts on the 24th. Of those planning to promote Small Biz Saturday, 8 out 10 expect a “year-over-year” boost in sales on the day. Needless to say, it’s worth participating if, at the very least, to help encourage consumers to shop small. So what are other small business owners doing? Here are their stories:
Landmark Tax Group
Landmark Tax Group, a Southern California professional tax firm, helps businesses and individuals resolve their IRS and State tax disputes. Michael Raanan, Landmark Tax Group’s President, first heard about Small Business Saturday from a customer that runs a small furniture shop. According to Michael’s customer, Small Business Saturday is one of the busiest days of the year for him. Therefore, Landmark has decided to take part in Small Business Saturday for the first time this year. To participate, Landmark will be offering substantial discounts on all of their services. They will be utilizing QR codes and other means to get the word out Thursday through Saturday, and again on Cyber Monday. Landmark, like most small businesses, operates on a limited budget so they are consistently looking for economical ways to reach their prospective customers. Without a doubt, the shared publicity and support they receive from Small Business Saturday will certainly assist in maximizing their campaign. It’s interesting to see just how Landmark got involved with Small Business Saturday, by being referred from a customer in a completely different industry. What this assures is that, literally, no matter what kind of small business you are, you should take part in Small Business Saturday.
spendLO is a Florida, web-based, reverse-auction platform that gives consumers a chance to “name their price” on various services. Consumers are able to simply describe their needs, how much they are willing to pay, schedule appointments and then hire a pre-qualified service provider (without any solicitation from prospective service providers). After just launching the company in June of this year, this will be, of course, spendLO’s first year participating in Small Business Saturday. In support, spendLO will wave their entire commission fee of 10% on all projects closed on November 24th. The fee is normally charged to the service providers, but this strategic move will keep that money in the hands of those small businesses. spendLO makes a huge statement, in regards to their support for small business, as they are choosing to give the cash back for the day to their service providers. A great move to increase enthusiasm and loyalty from their service providers, the spendLO community is on board. As Managing Partner Kristen Delaney explains, “The appeal was infectious among my clients not just because of the potential personal benefits, but because of its communality. Everyone is affected by the success of small business in some way – because of themselves, a family member or friend works at/owns a small business, they are a loyal small business customer, or they see the importance of small businesses in their own communities. By encouraging activity in Small Business Saturday, it really means supporting one’s entire community.”
Babesta is an NYC based children’s clothing store that has a true, curated selection of the “best brands from cool rock and roll tees and made to order graphic tees to small run boutique brands from Stockholm to Sydney”, says Babesta’s Jennifer Cattaui. They also offer toys, accessories, footwear and books. Their recent addition, Babesta Cribz, brings strollers, gear and furniture to their second store. Babesta has a unique introduction to Small Business Saturday, with the Amex team literally coming to their store (whose offices are near Babesta) and inviting them to participate. Babesta is a Small Business Saturday veteran, offering special discounts and promotions all day last year. Although they experienced good traffic last Small Business Saturday, many of their “true” local customers are gone for Thanksgiving on the Saturday following Black Friday. Therefore, this year they are focused on promoting Small Business Saturday outside of their Tribeca neighborhood in Manhattan. They even banded together with 20 local businesses that are all offering promotions and spreading the word together, really encouraging those that live outside of Tribeca to visit the neighborhood. They’ve constructed a map of the different businesses participating and what they are offering, so the businesses can cross promote. They plan to offer discounts again this year, alongside free gifts with certain purchases. They are really pushing the word out by publicizing to mommy bloggers and are preparing for the influx of traffic by setting up mobile work stations to help with heavy check out lines. A lesson to be learned from Babesta is that even with just mild success from a Small Business Saturday, given it is an annual event, you can learn from your previous year’s experience and take action to make each year better, more successful and a true kick-off to your holiday season.
Once you learn a bit about Small Business Saturday, you realize that it doesn’t matter what type of business you are, whether your services are in-store or online, or if you’ve participated before, it’s a smart investment for your small business. If you aren’t participating in Small Business Saturday, it’s not too late. Find out how to get involved with American Express. And if you will be out and about shopping this weekend, remember: SHOP SMALL!
If you are a small business participating in Small Business Saturday, let us know how you are getting involved in the comments below!