Prepare your business for Small Business Saturday


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Since 2010, Small Business Saturday has provided independent businesses with an extra way to take advantage of the holiday shopping season. It happens on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Consumers see it as a way to support local businesses and give back to their own communities. If you own a small business, here are some things you can do to boost your own sales and exposure.

1. Alert your existing customers, reach out to new ones

If you have built up a loyal group of customers, be sure to think of them first and foremost. Send out postcards and emails, make additional posts on social media and stick fliers in customers’ bags when they shop throughout the months of October and November. Then, you can think about advertising to new ones. One of the best ways to do this is to form partnerships with other small businesses in your area. Put together a Small Business Saturday block party if your place is located in a strip mall or among other businesses. Exchange coupons and fliers and agree to give out other companies’ information to your customers.

2. Create an incentive

On Black Friday, the big businesses give their shoppers a reason to come inside and spend money. Do the same on a scale you can manage. Consider coupons for 10 percent or 15 percent off items, hold a buy-one-get-one-free sale, or have a contest or raffle. Offer something special to the first 20 or 50 customers to attract new shoppers.

3. Step up your customer service

Many customers care as much about the service they receive as they do good deals, so make sure your customer service is sharp. Consider hiring a few extra temporary employees if you can afford it to prevent customers from waiting. Offer free gift-wrapping or delivery. Do what you can to make sure each shopper knows he or she is just as important as the next.

4. Consider your online presence

If you have a website, whether you sell products there or not, make sure it is up to date and reflects your Small Business Saturday plans. Ensure that your hours are correct, all links are working and that your site does not look like it was created in 1998. Keep social media active, create your own hashtag, hold photo contests, update profile pictures and reward customers who check in on your social media sites with discounts or free gifts.

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