As a small business, it can be difficult to compete with the low prices and stock levels of bigger companies, especially in the run-up to Christmas. In 2010, American Express introduced Small Business Saturday, a day that promoted small businesses all across America. In 2012, the United Kingdom decided that it was time to follow suit. This year, the 2nd December will see shoppers head to their local, independent retailers in favour of the big retail giants to support small businesses. Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for you to build relationships with customers, increase awareness of your business and generate more custom, you need to make the most of it.

Promote to customers

Customers won’t venture into your establishment next Saturday if they don’t know about it. You can sign up to take part in Small Business Saturday here, by doing so you can access a range of marketing materials, such as posters and stickers that can be placed around your shop and in the windows. When signing up, you can provide all of your business details and the products/services that you offer; your listing will then be added to the Small Business Finder so customers can locate your business.

Update your website and social media

A fast and affordable way of getting the word out is using the internet. Update your website to show that you are involved in Small Business Saturday. The marketing pack that you receive when you sign-up includes banners and logos that you can use across your social media platforms. The beauty of social media is that you can speak to thousands of people at once, use #SmallBizSatUk to get involved in the conversation.

Stay open later

Some communities opt to hold events on Small Business Saturday if your neighbours are holding evening events or the whole street is having a party then adjust your opening hours accordingly. If every business on your street is staying open late, and you’re closed, you’ll miss out on valuable footfall. If you choose to adjust your opening hours, make sure that you advertise it well online and in-store.

Offer incentives

Nothing attracts customers more than a discount or deal; it can be tempting to slash your prices to compete with big retailers but don’t. Customers are coming to you to support your business, not because you are necessarily the cheapest option. Instead, consider offering a discount if the customer spends a certain amount, hold a raffle or a competition where they must send a picture of the receipt to enter. Get creative; Small Business Saturday is just for one day so you can afford to have a bit of fun.

Speak to your neighbours

The chances are that neighbouring businesses will be taking part in Small Business Saturday if you are part of the business community then speak with them about how you can best promote your businesses. You can even promote each other, if a customer spends a certain amount in your store, offer them a discount in another store that is taking part, this is a great way to build your client base.

Small Business Saturday is all about building awareness of the brilliant, independent retailers in the local area. This opportunity only comes once a year so make sure that you make the most of it!