By Jen Cohen Crompton
Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to kick off the holiday season by visiting locally owned, brick and mortar businesses on the Main Streets of towns across the United States. However, there are a lot of American small businesses beyond shops and restaurants that can take advantage of the holiday. From local contractors to small accounting practices, the United States Small Business Association (SBA) estimates that there are 28 million small businesses in America that make up 54% of all U.S. sales, and they should all have an opportunity to celebrate the holiday!
The size standard for nonmanufacturing American small businesses is defined by the SBA as businesses with at least $7.5 million in average annual receipts, and whether they’re offering customer discounts or reassessing everyday workflows, Small Business Saturday can be useful in some capacity to all of them. If you’re a small business that operates outside of the retail or restaurant space, consider taking advantage of the holiday in the following ways:
- Treat it as the beginning of your year – The start of the calendar year is a hectic time for all small businesses, so use Small Business Saturday as an early opportunity to assess the state of your business. Do you need to make a new hire for seasonal help? Is there new technology that you can implement to streamline specific business workflows? Use Small Business Saturday to take a holistic view of your business operations.
- Promote your business – Many municipalities and neighborhoods plan events around the holiday, so get in touch with your local governing body to see if there is any way you can get involved while promoting your business. Maybe you can donate warm drinks and sweet pastries to pass out at the town square, where most of the shopping is taking place. This is an inexpensive way to join in the holiday spirit while getting to introduce your business to your neighbors.
- Offer discounted services – Retail shops often offer sales for Small Business Saturday shoppers, so why shouldn’t others offer discounted services to promote their business? Whether you’re an electrician offering the best light bulbs on the market for free with every new light fixture installation, or an accountant offering a 10% discount for work booked the week leading up to the holiday, use Small Business Saturday to drive customers to your business.
- Re-invest in your social media – Even though most potential small business customers start their search for a certain product or service with Google, some potential customers prefer to look at a business’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, items that are often neglected during day-to-day business operations. Small businesses of every make and model should have an established social media/online presence, so take advantage of Small Business Saturday and update your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other social network you use to better communicate with customers.
- Clean your virtual workspace – Like many consumers, small businesses often take advantage of the spring months to “Spring Clean” their workspace, but too often, small businesses forget about an important area of their everyday work – their virtual space. Small businesses can use Small Business Saturday as a yearly reminder to delete the multiple versions of that one power point presentation on their desktop, or move all tax and time-sensitive documents into a cloud storage system for safe keeping.
No matter what kind of small business it is, there is no reason that owners and employees shouldn’t take advantage of Small Business Saturday. Whether they’re offering special deals to prospective customers, reassessing their businesses’ use of technology, or employing better customer outreach tactics, Small Business Saturday is a holiday that supports the backbone of the American economy, and all small businesses should take part in the festivities.
Jen Cohen Crompton is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Neat Company.