Last-minute ideas for making Small Business Saturday pay off
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
If you intended to have your store take part in the sixth-annual Small Business Saturday, your days are numbered. How numbered? Take today's date and subtract it from 28. And even if the answer is "zero" because it is Small Business Saturday already as you read this, don't panic! You can still find plenty of ways to get into the spirit of the event.
Here is a look at a few last-minute ideas for Small Business Saturday:
At least get a sign: At the bare minimum, you can use a piece of poster board and a marker to make your own "Shop Small Here!" sign for the front window. You'll want another sign at the register. If you're not artistically inclined at all, print out one of the SBS signs that are available free on the American Express website. Or maybe a neighboring store has a couple extra signs you could borrow.
Check your local community: Many service clubs, retailer groups and chambers of commerce are backing the Shop Small movement. Your local chapter may have something readily at hand to help your store announce its participation.
Balloons make any event look special: Even with the price of helium gas way up, it can be worth the investment to feature a couple of floating balloons to attract attention to your Shop Small effort. Look around your establishment for places that balloons would enhance.
Update your website: If you have a few days to work with, make the news about Small Business Saturday the main theme of your store's website. You could come up with an offer or discount that is only available through your site.
Rev up your social media: This could be your golden ticket to success, if you have Facebook and Twitter set up already. They're both instantaneous, and you or a designated employee or offspring could provide an ongoing commentary (with pictures) of you getting your store ready, people coming in, etc. Think of it as your own retail reality show.
How about a door prize: As a conversation starter, grab a fishbowl or cardboard box and stage a door prize drawing. Just provide a scratch pad or two so people can drop in an entry. The prizes or prizes are up to you.
Ask your peers for quick ideas: If you belong to a trade organization, see if it is running a Small Business Saturday program. Perhaps there is an online forum where you can connect with members about last-minute tactics. Make use of sites like Reddit and Manta to ask if other business owners in your field have promotional ideas for the big day. You could also look for likely groups on LinkedIn and glean ideas there.
Next year, plan ahead: Now that you know about participating in Small Business Saturday, start an idea file and get with the program earlier. American Express, which came up with the program as a way to help small businesses do more business, has a plentitude of marketing aids that you apply for in advance.
It seems that the trend toward buying locally-produced goods and services is gaining strength. Here's hoping holiday shoppers in your market support the effort, and your bottom line.
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