Have you got Saturday 4th December circled in red on your calendar? If not, it’s time to get out your biggest marker pen and highlight the date in bold.
That’s because 4th December 2021 is Small Business Saturday, an annual nationwide celebration of small businesses – and the most amazing opportunity for you to get your business noticed.
Now in its ninth year in the UK, the Small Business Saturday campaign has grown significantly each year; last year a record £1.1 billion was spent with small businesses on the day itself, with 15.4 million people choosing to shop in small businesses.
And this year the impact is likely to be even more significant because the pandemic has really focussed customers’ minds on how much small businesses can offer them, bringing innovation, personality and passion to the marketplace in a way that larger corporates simply cannot. As a result, their interest in supporting small firms in their local area has soared.
XLN is a long-standing champion of small businesses and we are delighted to support the Small Business Saturday campaign. Having started out as a small business ourselves, we know better than anyone about the unique challenges and pressures involved. Small Business Saturday is a fantastic opportunity to boost the profile of your business and attract new customers – here’s how to make the most of it:
1. Get involved in the campaign by following Small Business Saturday on social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – then spread the word using the hashtag #SmallBizSatUK. You can download the Small Business Saturday logos to use on your website or social media – you will find them at www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.
2. Register and advertise your business for free on the Small Business Saturday Small Business Finder – an interactive online tool and map where customers can search for small businesses by type and location.
3. Mark the occasion by doing something special for your customers – launch a one-off promotion, create a pop-up event, take part in an interactive challenge or offer a special gift or discount, perhaps. Take the opportunity to try something new and see what response you get. Encourage your customers to get involved and spread the word too – get them to post photos of themselves supporting your business on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #SmallBizSatUK.
5. Get the Small Business Saturday team to shout about what you are doing too. If you tell them about your plans on social media they have promised to give your business a shout-out.
6. Use this day as a stepping stone to establish a stronger local presence. As a small business, you have a wonderful opportunity to build a really strong local following and support in a way that larger businesses are simply not able to. Make the most of this advantage by actively supporting local causes, whether it be the kid’s football team or the annual village fete, or by giving career talks at the local school and offering sixth formers the opportunity to do a week’s work experience in your business. And make sure that customers know you are local, by using local knowledge and reference points to get your message across.
7. Take the opportunity to tell your story. One reason customers love small businesses so much is they really like discovering and relating to their origin story – about how the business started, who founded it and what inspired them. We love that Innocent was started by three friends after setting up a smoothie stall at a music festival, and that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream was started by childhood friends Ben and Jerry rather than thought up by some corporate marketing team. Your story makes your business authentic and it provides a meaningful connection to customers that large firms can only dream about. So start placing your story at the heart of everything you do.
8. Use Small Business Saturday as a way of starting a better conversation with your customers. As a small business, you have a unique opportunity to really get to know your customers personally and find out what they want – and the more you listen to them, the more they will love you for it. So make it easy for them to get in touch with you, whether by email, or social media, and then – and this is really important – make sure you respond and reply to them promptly. Conversation is a two-way process and if they feel that you are really listening to them and addressing their needs, they will love you for life.
9. Ask us for help. At XLN we really understand what makes small businesses tick, because we’ve been there ourselves. If you’d like to have a chat about how we can help you, get in touch with us on 0344 880 7777.