So we’ve had Black Friday, Cyber Monday and a generally jam-packed retail year. For smaller retailers, these commercially significant days present a chance to increase and boost sales, but is doesn’t end there. Small Business Saturday, a US imported celebration of unique and spectacular small businesses, is due to celebrate its second birthday this Saturday 6th December.
Launched in the UK last year, the campaign couldn’t have come at a better time. In a year when we said farewell to Woolworths and Comet, and witnessed the near miss that was HMV, Small Business Saturday increased consumer engagement with independents by 48% and saw sales increase by 1.3%*.
What is Small Business Saturday?
The original Small Business Saturday was held in the US in 2010. Sponsored by American Express, the campaign was embraced by businesses and consumers and is now recognised as a national shopping holiday (or an antidote to the madness that is Black Friday).
The UKs dedicated date for the campaign is on Saturday 6th December 2014. A nationwide event, businesses and entrepreneurs from all over the UK will be holding special events and offering special discounts to shoppers who visit their independent store.
Last year, Small Business Saturday UK featured 100 small businesses around the UK, one a day for 100 days leading up to December 6th. This year, they have been doing the same. Check out their SmallBiz100 Calendar for a sneak peak.
Why is it important?
In the UK, SMEs provide almost two thirds of private sector employment and almost half of the private sector turnover**. Despite this, many businesses find it hard to make headway in an economy dominated by titans and do not receive the recognition they deserve.
For the smaller retailer or business it can be hard to compete during events such as Black Friday and the Boxing Day sales; but that is where Small Business Saturday is different. A chance for independent businesses and shoppers to support each other, the one day event encourages increased footfall whilst improving visibility and raising awareness of your local businesses.
According to a report by American Express “the first Saturday in December revealed shopping locally in small shops provides £537m worth of free services to local communities annually in the UK while for every £1 spent by independent businesses 60p goes straight back into the local economy.”
Michelle Ovens, the national campaign director says Small Business Saturday is “universally positive - we never say anything negative about big business - the world needs both.” She adds: “This is a long-term plan not a one year thing. It is about changing the way people think about small businesses.”
How can you get involved?
The UK Small Business Saturday campaign supports all small businesses, not just retailers, and invites business from all areas to get involved. There are lots of fantastic ways for B2B and B2C businesses to get involved including hosting networking events, offering special promotions or organising a Christmas market.
Growing in size, there will be a Small Business Saturday event near you. You can download a free digital pack online and sign up for a local marketing pack including posters you can use on the day. For those in our local area there are a number of events going on including free Christmas parking and pop-up market stalls for young entrepreneurs. We hope to see you there!
For more information on Small Business Saturday or to see how you can get involved go to: smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.