Now in its 10th year, Small Business Saturday has generated an estimated $103 billion in sales since it began in 2010.  This year’s Small Business Saturday is November 30th – the Saturday after Thanksgiving – and many retail shops and restaurants will be pulling out the stops to capitalize on the buzz that surrounds this annual event. That said, there are plenty of ways for other businesses to take advantage of this golden opportunity to connect with people who are eager to shop small.

Whether you are a consumer-focused non-retail company or a business-to-business (B2B) service provider, here are seven ways to give your business a boost as the holiday season kicks into high gear.

1 – Reconnect with Customers

Small Business Saturday is the perfect time for business owners to reach out to existing customers or clients and remind them about what you have to offer. Consider sending personalized emails or launching an email campaign to encourage your customers to shop local. This positions your brand as one that supports other small businesses, and will help keep you top of mind the next time they need a service you provide.

This is also a great time to send holiday cards or notes to your best customers thanking them for supporting your business during the past year. Include a promotional offer to show how much you appreciate their loyalty.

2 – Show Other Businesses Some Love

If you run a B2B company, show your support for other area businesses that are participating in Small Business Saturday. Offer special pricing on relevant products or services, like creating signage or printing marketing materials. Discount a month of social media management or bookkeeping services. Your goodwill may spark a new business relationship, generate customer referrals, or inspire others to return the favor down the road.

3 – Offer Deals on Future Services

Service-based companies can generate business on Small Business Saturday by promoting special deals on services their customers use year-round. For example, distribute a coupon that clients can redeem later in the holiday season if they book an appointment, consultation, or seminar now. Consider capitalizing on the popularity of gift cards and offer purchasers a percentage off of a future service.

4 – Find a Partner

Working in partnership with neighboring businesses, organizations, and agencies that will be participating in Small Business Saturday can expand your reach and draw new customers to your business. Reach out to your area Chamber of Commerce or small business association as well as local merchants to find out what special events and promotions they have planned. Offer to be part of or support their activities and take advantage of opportunities to develop cross promotions.

For example, you could arrange to distribute coupons for your services to your partners’ customers. Offer discounts to people who present a receipt from partnering shops or cafes, and ask those business owners to do the same for you. When considering partners for Small Business Saturday, think about organizations that share your values and target audience. A strategic partnership can make your small business seem like a bigger business by strengthening your marketing and increasing your exposure to potential customers.

5 – Host an Event

Events are a great way for non-retailers to create a reason for local consumers to visit their place of business. A financial planner can host a workshop on how to budget for the new year. An automotive repair shop could throw a customer appreciation event and offer discounts that patrons can redeem all winter long.

If your business is located in a high traffic area, host an open house where shoppers can recharge with refreshments, receive chair massages, or enjoy entertainment. Hand out branded items or swag bags and ask people to sign in with their email address so you can build your prospecting list. Getting people through the door can help you reach more potential customers and share what your business is all about. If you don’t have space, partner with a complementary business that does.

6 – Join in Community Celebrations

Many communities have organized events on Small Business Saturday. You can participate by being a sponsor, taking a booth or table, or simply attending and talking to shoppers and other business owners. If you don’t have something for people to purchase or sign up for on the day, you can benefit by showing an active interest in the community, networking with potential customers, and building relationships that could help your business throughout the year. If nothing like this exists in your area, consider polling business owners and community leaders to gauge their interest in coming together to create an event around shopping local.

7 – Show Gratitude

The holiday season is a time for businesses to show their gratitude by giving back. On Small Business Saturday, consider supporting a local non-profit. Engaging your employees in choosing the charity and the activity provides a meaningful way for them to use their abilities to help others in need.

Consider holding a fund drive or collecting goods if your location is easily accessible. Donating the day’s sales to your chosen charity or matching the donations of your customers may give them an incentive to buy more. In addition, promoting your effort in tandem with the non-profit can help extend your reach and raise awareness about your business with a broader audience.

We encourage you to find creative ways to participate in Small Business Saturday as a strategy for strengthening your connection to the people in your community. This is one of the keys to growing a successful business – not just during the holiday season, but all year long.

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