Whether you’ve spent hours in line on Thanksgiving night, or you avoid holiday shopping like the plague, you’ve certainly heard of Black Friday. Every year, countless news stories, TV advertisements, and newspaper inserts find their way into your home, touting the deep discounts at major retailers. More recently, the creation of Cyber Monday—the first Monday to follow Thanksgiving—has created even more opportunity for holiday shoppers to hand over their hard-earned money in exchange for great deals.
Although there are often incredible discounts on in-demand items during these two pseudo-holidays, the ensuing spending frenzy isn’t without its drawbacks. Small businesses typically feel the pinch as a result our big box shopping habits. That’s why—two years after the 2008 financial collapse—credit card company, American Express, decided to promote what they coined “Small Business Saturday”. The new holiday was intended to give Americans Express customers a discount for shopping locally on the Saturday after Black Friday—giving small business owners the boost they needed—and providing incentive for America to Shop Small®.
The success of the first Small Business Saturday in 2010 led the United States’ Senate to officially endorse the holiday the following year. Today, according to American Express, the nation has spent an estimated $103 billion over the nine Small Business Saturdays since its inception.
Those that run small businesses know the importance of capitalizing on a day dedicated to helping bring attention to their services and goods. Competing with larger companies is challenging enough as it is. While big box stores and international companies often command the headlines, Small Business Saturday is a day for local entrepreneurs to step into the limelight and showcase their wares. TDS Telecom understands the integral importance of small businesses to a community. In today’s technological age, it’s become more important than ever that small business owners can access the internet and reach their customers. TDS is proud to provide that connection to many local businesses in communities across the nation.
So how can small business owners make the most of Small Business Saturday? Here are some tips from expert sources:
- Web Readiness: According to com, making sure your website is mobile-friendly, all links are functioning, and your web addresses are usable is a key to making the most of Small Business Saturday.
- Utilize Social Media: If you haven’t already gotten into the social media game, now is the time to do so. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more can (and should) be used to tell your story, as suggested by com. Social media also allows you to give a face and a personality to your business, organize giveaways, and promote deals! Use the hashtags #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat so shoppers can find you easily.
- Use Free Resources: Beyond just creating the holiday, American Express has continued to offer support to small businesses with free, customizable promotional materials. Simply visit their resource website here to make the most of the holiday.
- Cross Promote: Team up with your community’s other small businesses to create promotions, bundles, giveaways and more. According to the American Independent Business Alliance, cross promoting with other local businesses can help to pool resources and customer bases for an even wider customer base!
- Big Box Store Strategy: According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, utilizing some major retailer techniques like door busters can really drive customers into your store. Don’t try to compete with the big retailers, but give people a reason to stop by!
And why should you feel good about shopping on Small Business Saturday?
- More money stays local. On average, 48 percent of each purchase at local independent businesses was recirculated locally, compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores, according to a study by Civic Economics.
- You’re supporting someone’s dream. Shop owners are shop owners because they want to be—it’s their dream job.
- You’re helping to build a sense of community. Most of us want and crave a thriving community and sense of community. By buying small and local, you’re helping to make that happen.
- Small businesses create new jobs. Fun fact: Small businesses created 65% of the net new jobs between 1992-2009.
- You’ll get great customer service. A small business is always more likely to give you the great service you deserve.
Regardless of whether you’re a small business owner, or simply a holiday shopper looking for a deal, Small Business Saturday is one of the best times of the year to celebrate your community and show support for locally-owned businesses. As November 30 approaches, look for the Shop Small® signs and consider stopping by to find the perfect gift for your loved ones (or maybe yourself)!
Guest Blogger: Joe Pueschner with Missy Kellor