Owning a small business is one way many people achieve The American Dream. As a small business owner, you can offer something special to your community, whether it’s providing unique products and services or creating a small-town friendly atmosphere at your business by getting to know customers by name.

This Thanksgiving weekend, you have the opportunity to showcase your business through Small Business Saturday. Held the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year, it’s a day when consumers band together to support local companies by shopping at independently-owned businesses. American Express started the Small Business Saturday tradition in 2010, and reports that about 43 percent of Americans shopped or dined at local businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2017. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) adds that small business sales in 2017 totaled about $12.9 billion on Small Business Saturday.

Do you want to get your business involved in this annual event? Whether you’re a small business owner participating for the first time, or a veteran of the tradition, follow these tips to help you make the most of Small Business Saturday.

Prepare Marketing Materials

The NFIB recommends promoting the event to your existing customers. Consider hanging a sign in your store, and create flyers to to hand out to customers or put in shopping bags prior to the event. The Shop Small website from American Express contains many templates for social media posts, posters, flyers and emails that can help you get started.

Create A Buzz

Join a circle of small businesses in your community to create buzz around the big day. Banding together with other businesses is also a great way to create special promotions for Small Business Saturday. The NFIB suggests running sales that reward customers for shopping from one store to another — such as giving customers a percentage off their order total if they bought something from another business across the street. The U.S. Small Business Administration adds that a special in-store offer, such as a one-time coupon or free sample, can also make customers feel special and entice them to come back to your store.

Promote on Social Media

Pew Research Center states that the majority of adults in the U.S. use Facebook — about 68 percent as of early 2018, to be exact. With such a large reach, plan to use your social media accounts to promote your involvement in Small Business Saturday. Don’t forget to share any special promotions you plan to have, and use Small Business Saturday hashtags such as #SmallBusinessSaturday or #ShopSmall in your posts. This can help ensure that your information is more visible to consumers.

Showcase Your Products and Services

According to the NFIB, 61 percent of shoppers stop at small businesses to discover unique products. Create a special display that showcases unique, one-of-a-kind products your store offers. You can also pair together items that would make a great gift idea. After Thanksgiving, many consumers start to shop for holiday gifts, so take advantage of the holiday spirit and help customers find the perfect presents.

Be Prepared

Preparation is key with any celebration, so make your plans and create promotions well ahead of time. This can help you start the day feeling calm and confident — and don’t forget to create a sign-up list where customers can opt in for your store newsletters or other special promotions.

Participating in Small Business Saturday is a great event to help you retain existing customers and gain new ones. Follow these tips to help your business make the most of this year’s Small Business Saturday — and remember that a little effort now can go a long way when November 24 arrives.

Originally published on November 22, 2013. 

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