Perhaps an odd title for this month’s blog although a sneaky few of you may have already got the reference hidden within it – in this blog we’re going to be looking at Small Business Saturday.
Typically taking place during the first weekend of December (this year will be 5th December 2020), Small Business Saturday is a nationwide event that is specifically designed to encourage others across the UK to support their local small businesses. It has been well established for 7 years, with this year set to be another successful 8th appearance.
Dropping back to that sneaky clue in our title and for those of you not familiar with Doctor Who, we were of course referring to the small blue telephone box (Tardis for short), that is used as the Doctor’s primary mode of transport. Here at Pink Spaghetti, we truly believe that Small Business Saturday is the Tardis of the small business world, and we’re going to discuss how, just like the seemingly innocuous little blue box, Small Business Saturday is not only bigger than you’d expect but can also open up a whole universe of possibilities.
“For some people, small, beautiful events are what life is all about.” – The 5th Doctor
Except, Small Business Saturday isn’t a small event! In the UK, the event is growing year on year and in 2019’s event we saw a whopping £800m spent in Small Businesses around the country with an approximate turnout of 17.6 million people!
It’s become such an established event that the majority of local councils now actively support this campaign to help in making small businesses the preferred choice for local customers. On average, 80% of councils throughout the country regularly back the campaign and even offer additional support such as free parking and networking events alongside it to ensure it is successful for those businesses taking part.
Not only is there a much anticipated build up to the day, the SmallBiz campaign also runs free talks and workshops during the year which provide information, tips, and skills to help inspire and support small businesses everywhere. This year, a virtual ‘bus’ tour will replace the regular event, and this will be the first UK online roadshow for businesses affected by Covid-19. Starting on 2nd November 2020, SmallBiz will be making daily virtual visits to a variety of small businesses with the aim of offering support and a much-needed uplift.
How can my business get involved?
It doesn’t matter what form your business takes, anyone can register their business on the Small Business Saturday website for free. This isn’t just fantastic exposure and an easy way for new customers to find out about what you do, it could also lead to the teams at Small Business Saturday choosing to highlight your business on a National scale.
Each year, SmallBiz pick their SmallBiz100, which is a list of 100 small businesses that they will be promoting across social channels and local press, there is also opportunity to attend a reception with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
If you don’t manage to make the 100 then all is not lost, simply showing up and participating in Small Business Saturday is going to open up the doors of self-promotion for your business and allow you to reach out and tell your story to new customers.
“We’re all stories in the end, just make it a good one.” – The 11th Doctor
Here’s just a few tips on how your business can get involved with Small Business Saturday:
Spread the word.
Tell your customers about Small Business Saturday. Shop signage, web banners, blogs, mail shots – these can all be used to spread the message that your business is taking part and also to inform of any promotions you may be running alongside this. Not only that but you’ll also be making customers aware that more local businesses may be taking part.
We all know just how important social media is in the world today, so use it! If you’re trying to land new and local customers, then the chances are that they are already online – you’ve just got to make sure that you turn up in the results they get. Make sure your social media posts include relevant hashtags such as #SmallBusinessSaturday, #ShopLocal and #SmallBizSatUK to really get yourself noticed.
Never underestimate the power of giveaways, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, even something as simple as free entry into a prize draw or free delivery can do wonders for improving sales. Your customers may have found you because they want to shop local but that doesn’t mean they don’t need other incentives to buy from you.
Tell your story.
As per our earlier quote, make it a good one. Customers absolutely love making a connection with the businesses that they purchase from – even more so if you are on their doorstep. Let them know about you, why you started the business and what you’re passionate about. If they understand what you’re working towards then they will be more likely to support you long into the future.
Why are events like this so important for the future of small business?
There’s absolutely no doubt that UK high streets and small businesses need all the help they can get right now. Even before the threat of Covid-19 was apparent, numbers from the British Retails Consortium had confirmed that the number of people choosing to shop small and local was falling fast.
Recent world events and the resulting shift of personal priorities is however leading to research showing that consumers are actively looking for products and experiences that they simply can’t get from mass production retailers.
“900 years of time and space and I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important.” – The 11th Doctor
The future of the UK is changing and it’s people are too, whilst it’s fairly true to say that businesses have never needed so much support – we also think that consumers have never been more willing to provide it to businesses they value.
Just as any good timelord needs the steadfast trust and support of their travelling companion(s), any good business needs the unwavering trust and support of their customers. If there was ever a time to reach out to the consumers and fellow businesses closest to you then this is it.
If you need help with getting your business ready for Small Business Saturday or any other dimension of your business, then let Pink Spaghetti be your Doctors!