How Entrepreneurs Can Make the Most Out of Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. A record number of shoppers are making plans to support their favorite businesses, as small business owners across the nation gear up for #ShopSmall.

When Small Business Saturday first began, incentives got people to come in and shop. But today, it has become a movement to support local businesses. Since 2011, Congress has designated a National Small Business Saturday, which is November 30 this year.

A One Day Shopping Event for Millions

Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010, as a response to small business owners’ most pressing need; getting more customers. Held on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday helps rally communities nationwide.

NFIB data shows that, in 2015, restaurants and independent retailers saw $16.2 billion in spending during Small Business Saturday, a 14% increase from the $14.3 billion in sales during Small Business Saturday 2014. Fortune also reports that, in 2015, 95 million consumers participated in this event.

Since 2014, there have been more than 1.6 million new small businesses added to this one-day shopping event. For 2016, American Express has teamed up with basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal to encourage card members to Shop Small and get two times the rewards this holiday season. American Express, an official sponsor of the NBA and six of its teams, has also partnered with O’Neal, a four-time NBA champion, for the 2016-17 NBA season.

The Key to Small Business Saturday Success

Part of what helps make Small Business Saturday successful, in terms of getting consumers to #ShopSmall is a Small Business Saturday coalition of supporting organizations. Essentially, national, state, and local associations help coordinate #ShopSmall activities with merchants, consumers, and small business owners.

Another group that drives Small Business Saturday activities are the Neighborhood Champions, which is comprised of small businesses, associations, local Chambers of Commerce, and other community groups.

Small business owners can make the most of this day through social media. Your online presence, email marketing, and social media networks are great ways to target and connect with local consumers, through timely updates and compelling calls-to-action. Develop themes for your email templates and update your website and Facebook profile picture. To be part of the nationwide conversation, use the hashtags #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

It’s likely that many other small businesses in your community also rely on the holidays for a good chunk of income. So, see if you can partner with complementary stores or businesses to cross-promote each others’ goods or services, as suggested by the U.S. Small Business Administration. One example the SBA cites is that a cosmetic store and a hair salon might develop a cross-promotion, which offers a time-limited discount on makeup and hair coloring if the customer frequents both businesses.


Editors’ Note: This article has been updated since it originally published on November 25, 2016.