The Payroll Blog

News, tips, and advice for small business owners

Preparing for Small Business Saturday

Posted On
9/23/2020
By
Stephanie Davis

We are quickly approaching the largest shopping day for small business owners – Small Business Saturday!

While this special day may look a little different this year due to COVID-19, it’s still a great time for small business owners to shine. Throughout the pandemic, consumers have been making more efforts to shop small. According to one study shared earlier this year by The New York Post, 75% of respondents were focusing on supporting small businesses with some respondents vowing to spend $100 a week at local businesses. Below we share the top things you need to know about Small Business Saturday, what you need to know to be successful, and how to adapt due to COVID-19.

What You Need to Know About Small Business Saturday

In case you don’t know, Small Business Saturday occurs the day after Black Friday. This is the weekend that officially kicks off the holiday shopping season, and you’ll want to ensure that your business gets some of the increased shopping dollars flooding the market. Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 to help small businesses during the recession. In 2019, consumers hit a record with an estimated spend of $19.6 billion on Small Business Saturday.

How to Be Successful on Small Business Saturday

In the consumer space, many people are seeking out opportunities to shop small and give their dollars to a local business owner rather than a big box store. But how do you achieve successful results by participating in Small Business Saturday?

Sandwiched in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s easy for small business owners to feel like they need to be on the same level as large retailers. In reality, the best thing small business owners can do is be true to themselves and their business. The numbers have shown people want to shop small, and while they also shop big, they appreciate the uniqueness that small business owner’s offer. Some ways that you can consider celebrating Small Business Saturday are:

  • Offer a referral promotion. Today, 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising. Referral programs are great for business because they bring more people in the door, and it’s a win-win for the consumer and your business. Customers who refer feel good about referring a company they support to a friend, and your business.
  • Implement a gift card promotion. Depending on your business, offering a promotion around gift cards can be a great holiday sale tactic. Similar to referrals, you’re rewarding the customer with a deal, and then you’ll have the chance to potentially bring in a new customer with the gift card. If you’ve never done a gift card program before, ShopKeep has some advice and things to consider.
  • Partner with other small business owners. Is your small business located in a busy area with other businesses nearby? Do you operate remotely but have connections with owners across the country? Small Business Saturday can be great to make connections with other small business owners even stronger by partnering together. As an example, if you operate a boutique, and the business next to you is a coffee shop, you can create a promotion to get customers visiting both locations. While community support is crucial for small business success, supporting other small businesses is just as important. 

How to Shop Small During COVID-19

Change has been the only constant in 2020. Small business owners have been pivoting from the beginning when stay at home orders hit, to re-opening protocols, and the quest for a “new normal.” While many things are still likely to change before Small Business Saturday, there are some ways you can prepare now.

  • Look for new business opportunities. Many businesses have had to change the way they operate. For example, if you own a retail store, now may be the time to launch online ordering and curbside pick-up options if you haven’t. The same could be said for restaurants. With colder weather coming for some, the status of outdoor dining remains in the air, so having a strong pick-up or delivery system could be great.
  • Look at staffing needs. With new business opportunities comes the need for new staff. Consider adding some seasonal employees to help manage increases in orders, deliveries, or even crowd control to ensure you don’t exceed capacity limits. Even if you aren’t launching a new process, extra hands could make getting through the busy season a little smoother.
  • Get PPE. PPE includes masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, face shields, and more. Depending on your business, you may need stickers or signage to direct the flow of traffic or plexiglass barriers at registers. While you may have already been purchasing or even making these items, it never hurts to have extras on hand.
  • Give yourself extra time. Earlier in the year, it was taking longer than normal for packages to be shipped. While things are mostly on track again, some bumps in the road are still to be expected. If you frequently rely on vendors for some of your products, try to get your orders in early so you can have some breathing room in case shipping times start to increase again.

Bottom Line

Small Business Saturday is a day you don’t want to miss as a small business owner. You still have plenty of time to prepare and develop some great ways to boost sales this year. If you’re looking for extra resources, American Express’s Shop Small website has additional information on how you can prepare and signage you can download for your business.

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