Making the most of Small Business Saturday UK

Let's celebrate everything small business on the 2nd December - read our 5 Step guide to find out how.

Support local businesses this small business Saturday

The UK will celebrate Small Business Saturday on Saturday, December 2nd, 2023. Now in its eleventh year, the campaign has snowballed, with British shoppers spending a staggering £774m in 2022 at local shops and eateries.

At Clear Business, we are devotees of all the small business superstars that add so much richness and diversity to our villages, towns, and cities. After all, it would be a decidedly dull landscape without our small traders, our locally run nail bars, independent coffee shops, music shops, and artisan bakeries.

Ahead of this year's Small Business Saturday, we've compiled five handy tips to help small businesses capitalise on the event. To turn one-time visitors into loyal customers by providing a Small Business Saturday experience to remember.

1. Plan incentives

People love a freebie or chance to win something, so give them that extra reason to drop by and spend time and money in your establishment.

The likes of raffles or creative competitions are known to draw a crowd. For example, if you sell confectionaries, you could run a “guess the number of sweets in the jar” competition, with the winners announced on social media. Likewise, if you run a bookshop, inviting customers to describe their favourite book in as few words as possible is a great way to promote engagement.

For a more contemporary approach, offer prizes to visitors who snap selfies on your premises and post them on social media with your business tagged and the #SmallBizSatUK hashtag used.

To keep the Small Business Saturday energy going, you can select the winning photo and invite the customer back to your premises to receive their prize.

Such incentives encourage people to visit and spend longer in your store and act as an excellent opportunity to create a buzz on social media.

2. Join forces

Ahead of the day, reach out to neighbouring small businesses and offer to work together to cross-promote each other.

For example, if you're a coffee shop owner, you could offer free coffee to anyone who comes in with something from the nearby butcher or florist. Talk to your neighbours about coming together to cover any short-term promotional costs, and the increased business and word of mouth will ensure that the long-term impact of the day is positive.

Where such initiatives are replicated across the local area, shoppers are encouraged to make a day of the event and explore as many businesses as possible. Moreover, collaborating this way with your fellow business owners leads to solid relationship building, relationships that can help you throughout the year, not just on Small Business Saturday.

3. Invite a local celeb or official

Few incidents have underscored the global appeal of Small Business Saturday quite like when US President Obama dropped into a local bookshop to celebrate the occasion in 2015.

While persuading a head of state to visit your business might be tricky, you could reach out to other local officials, like councillors or local mayors, who might be amenable to using your business for an impromptu photo opportunity.

Remember that other people of note, from local celebrities to sports people, could be flattered by a well-worded invite and might enjoy the chance to drop by, find out more about your business, and partake in some social media or local press promotion.

Securing celebrity endorsement might be a long shot, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

4. Utilise social media (and hashtags)

Your business story is unique, and social media is the ideal platform to share it with the world.

Documenting your preparation for the day (decorating, making food, setting up your A board) will generate a bit of buzz in advance. Then, on the day itself, you can share images of your most popular products and show customers enjoying the experience you’ve created.

Using hashtags like #SmallBizSat, #ShopSmall, #SmallBusinessSaturday and #DineSmall on Instagram and Twitter will ensure you get in front of an interested audience and become part of the Small Business Saturday conversation once the day is over.

5. Think past Saturday

Although it’s important to use Small Business Saturday to support sales and boost footfall, your thinking should extend beyond the day itself.

Many enterprises have come to incorporate Small Business Saturday into their annual holiday event line-up alongside the likes of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the build-up to Christmas, and the January sales.

Come January, take stock of what worked well over the period and what didn’t. Plenty of the techniques and strategies that produced positive results can also be rolled out at other times of the year.

Small Business Heroes

Though Small Business Saturday is a magnificent event and a unique opportunity to celebrate and promote the UK’s small business heroes, we think that small businesses should be valued and commended every day of the year.

It’s why we work hard all year round to provide our customers with the best payments experience possible. If you’re looking for a payments provider you can trust to help your business grow, get in touch with our payments experts.

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