November 1, 2018

Small Business Saturday Ideas & Strategies

(This is a repost from an article that was published last year but is worthwhile to revisit again).

Now that Halloween is officially over and we’re all coming off of that sugar-high, it’s time to refocus on the upcoming holidays. Depending on what type of food business you have, this last two months of the year could be some of your busiest. If you’re counting on having that revenue coming in, you want to be sure to take advantage of Small Business Saturday (in the US it’s held on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving).

I asked on the Small Food Business Facebook Page if readers would share their past Small Business Saturday ideas and a huge thank you to everyone who emailed me. Best of all, while many of these ideas were used for Small Business Saturday, the reality is that they can be morphed/changed as needed and applied to any time of year.

The key with any of these, first and foremost, is to understand what your goals are and what you know about your audience as well as what means you have available to you to reach out to them in a manner that doesn’t break your budget. So, without further ado, here is the list of Small Business Saturday ideas shared by our readers:

  • Partner with other small businesses as possible. Your options here are highly dependent on your business model – you may be able to create a brick and mortar scavenger hunt where customers will receive entries into a drawing for each store on the list they visit or you could offer promotions/savings for shoppers who spend money online with one retailer and then visit your site as well. Small businesses need to work together when up against the likes of Amazon and Big Retailers so get creative and think outside the proverbial box on how you and your small business colleagues can work together.
  • Put on a one-time event such as a pop-up shop at someone else’s location as a way to drive your customers and their customers to come visit you on that particular day.
  • Offer limited-time promotions such as Small Business Saturday Specials on some or all of your products.
  • Host a tasting or offer something special at no charge for people visiting or reaching out to you that day. This could include free samples of other products for people who buy from you online.
  • Promote your gift cards! Anyone who has ever shopped for that ‘has everything’ person finds gift cards a true gift in and of themselves. It makes your customers lives easier and brings you the revenue stream today. Plus, the customer (or person who receives the gift card) now has reason to come back and visit your store or website again in the future. As a reminder, gift cards can be really beneficial for companies that make perishable products where you may not be able to sell items on Small Business Saturday that would be good for the holidays later in year.
  • For food trucks, restaurants, cafes, you have the opportunity to offer a respite from holiday shopping where people can get some great food while still staying true to the small business mantra of the day. Play up your small business roots and make sure to let people know when you’ll be open (and where you’ll be located in the case of food trucks). You may even want to create a Small Business Saturday special food or drink item that plays on the shopping theme.

One last word about Small Business Saturday. No matter what you ultimately plan to do, it’s important to take the time to plan in advance how you’re going to reach your customers to let them know about what it is you are doing. This could include things like social media posts, e-newsletters, or even printed invites if you want to make someone feel really special for an event you’re hosting. It doesn’t matter how good your Small Business Saturday products and deals are – if no one knows about them then they’ll fall flat.

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