Black Friday may be a long-awaited holiday in large retailers, but the day after has special significance for those on the other side of the Fortune 500 cut-off: Small Business Saturday. Introduced in 2010 on the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a way to drive business to small local companies, Small Business Saturday is a reward for the time and energy that small businesses put in that often goes unnoticed in the shadow of larger enterprises. There are so many cool stores in Detroit, many are listed in the Detroit small business directory.
By creating a way for customers to save money at smaller alternatives and drive more money into the local economy, small businesses are able to enjoy the same holiday benefits as the big players in any industry. Whether you own a retail store, gift shop, restaurant, brewery, bike shop, or salon... Small Business Saturday is a holiday designed to let you make the most of whatever you have to offer. Many small companies do not have the advertising budget or the manpower to host an amazing event single-handledly, but coming together with other local businesses can be a game changer.It's not too late to prepare for this big consumer event and to reap potentially huge benefits for your small business.
Here are key action steps for brick and mortar small business owners in Detroit to take ASAP:
- Get free promotional materials. American Express offers free, easy-to-customize marketing materials for your storefront, website, and social media networks. Their Small Business Saturday website provides plenty of related information on how best to prepare for the big day. Help attract even more customers on Nov 25 with the Shop Small® Studio. You can create customizable marketing materials for your physical location, online shop and social media with the Shop Small® Studio in less than 2 minutes.
- Plan an in-store event. You'll generate greater interest among potential customers by hosting an event to draw people in. Fun Small Business Saturday ideas include hosting a kick-off breakfast, inviting a musical or dramatic act to perform in your store, sponsoring a give-away prize drawing, and greeting newcomers with door prizes and customer appreciation gifts.
- Consider extending business hours. This day is all about your customers. If you think opening earlier or staying open later than usual will benefit them, make preparations to enhance their shopping experience.
- Be sure your website is ready for business. Everything on your website should be operating at maximum efficiency in advance of Small Business Saturday. Do a test-run of the typical shopper's online experience, from browsing for items and adding them to a shopping cart to submitting username and password information and completing an actual transaction. Eliminate any extraneous elements (such as videos or images) that slow the user's loading time. And check that every key webpage is optimized for mobile shoppers!
- Go all out on social media. If you've been diligently building your social media networks, now's the time to kick into high gear. Consider offering special deals to consumers who use your Facebook check-in page, for example, and join in Twitter conversations using hashtags #smallbizsatdetroit #shopdetroit #shopsmalldetroit. Come up with mini-contests, customer preference polls--anything that spurs interaction with your target audience. The potential benefits of getting some social media buzz going are significant, so be prepared to take an active role ahead of the big day, or appoint someone in your business to devote time every day to social media postings.
- Find out what's happening in your community. You can be sure your local Chamber of Commerce is aware of Small Business Saturday. Contact their office and find out what types of promotional activities are planned and see how your business can jump on the community bandwagon. Another winning strategy is co-partnering with like-minded small businesses in the neighborhood, particularly those whose products and services complement your own. Sharing the costs of advertising in local media outlets and offer discounts to each other's businesses can be a way of getting more customers into one another's store.
Small businesses don't always get the attention they deserve, drawing sales away from the local economy and into the pockets of the big CEOs. Small Business Saturday seeks to change this, ensuring that small companies can benefit in the same way big businesses do. By taking advantage of a day dedicated to celebrating everything you do, you can create new customers, build loyalty in existing customers, and ensure this year's holiday season will be the best one yet. Hope this helps!