Small Business Saturday takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a way to help boost awareness and sales for small businesses between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The popularity of Small Business Saturday has increased exponentially since its inception in 2010, with an estimated 112 million consumers “shopping small” last year.

This year’s Small Business Saturday is November 25th, and many small business owners assume that only retail shops and restaurants can capitalize on this annual event. The fact is, there are plenty of ways for other types of businesses to connect with people in the community eager to support local businesses.

It may be challenging if you are a business-to-business (B2B) service provider or if your location is not open on Saturdays. However, you could make it a day to give your clients a discount for signing up for a service, show appreciation to your small-business vendors and suppliers, or lend a hand to a local non-profit organization. If you are a non-retail company looking to make the most of this golden opportunity, here are some ideas for giving your business a boost.

Connect with your customers.

Small Business Saturday is a great time for small business owners to communicate with customers. Even if your business is service oriented, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the buzz about small businesses and remind clients 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 your customers remember the next time they need a service you provide. Since Small Business Saturday is part of the kick-off to the holiday shopping season, it is also the perfect time to send cards or notes to your clients or best customers thanking them for supporting your business during the past year.

Support other small businesses.

If you run a B2B business, consider providing a special product or service to area businesses that will be busy on Small Business Saturday. Lower your printing rate for marketing materials or discount a month of service for bookkeeping clients. Showing your support for other small businesses may lead them to return the favor and recommend you to others.

Serve up special deals.

Service-based businesses 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, demo, or seminar now. If you sell gift cards, offer purchasers a percentage off a future service.

Create strategic partnerships.

Although you may not have a retail store, you can benefit from increased foot traffic by collaborating with stores, restaurants, and other local companies. Find out what businesses are doing and how you can partner up by offering a cross-promotion to their customers. For example, a home remodeling company could join forces with a furniture shop to offer a total home makeover. Reach out to like-minded business owners and arrange to distribute coupons for your services to their customers. Offer discounts to people who present a receipt from your partners’ shops or cafes, and ask those business owners to do the same for you.

When considering partners for Small Business Saturday, think about businesses 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.

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 after Small Business Saturday is over.

If your business is located in a high traffic area, host a holiday-themed art or craft exhibit, or host an open house where shoppers can recharge with refreshments, receive chair massages, or enjoy entertainment. Hand out branded 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 complimentary business that does.

Participate in community celebrations.

Many communities hold organized events for 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. Even if you can’t offer something to purchase or sign up for on the day, you can show an active interest in the community, network with potential customers, and build relationships that can help you throughout the year. If nothing like this exists in your area, reach out to local organizations like your Chamber of Commerce to see if other area businesses might be interested in coming together to create an event around shopping local.

Give back.

Customers love knowing that their money is going to a good cause. On Small Business Saturday, consider hosting a fund drive or collecting goods to support a local non-profit. If yours is a service-based business, donating the day’s sales to a charity or matching the donations of your customers may give them an incentive to buy more. You’ll be doing your part to help others in need, and promoting your efforts in partnership with a non-profit can help you reach an even wider audience.

At Summit Financial Resources, we support small businesses every day by helping them find working capital financing solutions that best fit their needs. We encourage every small business owner to think strategically and find creative ways to participate in Small Business Saturday. Strengthening your personal connection to the people in your community and reminding them to shop small is one of the keys to growing your business, not just during the holiday season, but all year long.

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Summit Financial Resources specializes in working capital financing for small to medium-sized businesses that need increased cash flow. We provide working capital financing through invoice factoring, asset-based lending, inventory lending, and equipment financing.