Running a small business takes a lot of hard work and forces entrepreneurs to wear multiple hats, often at the same time. What’s more, keeping up with some of the bigger retailers during the holiday season can be a real challenge.
In an effort to help level the playing field, American Express launched “Small Business Saturday” in 2010. The annual event aims to promote and celebrate the millions of small businesses that provide important goods and services to communities throughout the nation. Small Business Saturday encourages customers to visit and shop at some of the smaller, locally-owned merchants located in their neighborhoods. Online businesses can benefit as well.
This year, Small Business Saturday falls on Nov. 29. Here’s a look at how small business owners can make the most out of the big day.
Free marketing tools
From printable signage to digital banners for their websites, participating small business owners can download free advertising materials by visiting the event’s official website. Amex will also draft promotional emails for small businesses that can be sent to customers as well as create social media content for merchants’ Facebook or Twitter accounts.
Stores that accept American Express cards qualify for additional perks, including free online ads and a spot on the Shop Small Map, which is designed to help potential customers get a better sense of the participating stores in their area.
Extend hours and call in reinforcements
Chances are good that Small Business Saturday will generate an uptick in customers for participating businesses. Small business owners may want to consider extending store hours to accommodate the increased traffic. Recruiting family or friends to help manage the additional shoppers could also be worthwhile. Stores should be fully stocked to maximize revenue, and items that small business owners think may sell well should be prominently displayed.
Spread the word
American Express has partnered with several companies to help supply the materials and manpower necessary for another successful Small Business Saturday event. Merchants can, for example, visit Eventbrite’s website to organize parties featuring DJs and giveaways for customers. This could help draw crowds without having to dramatically slash prices.
This year’s Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity for small business owners to spark interest in their enterprises. If history is any indicator, participating businesses will be glad they joined the movement: in 2012, Small Business Saturday helped generate an estimated $5.5 billion in revenue for small businesses.
For the most up-to-date information about the event, be sure to follow it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Posts include additional tips on how entrepreneurs can prepare for the day as well as individual success stories describing how vendors made the most out of last year’s event.
Open sign image via Shutterstock.