Small Business Saturday 2018: what is it and how do I get involved?

Small Business Saturday falls on 1st December this year. We explain what you need to know and what support is available to entrepreneurs.

Small Business Saturday 2018 is almost upon us.

It’s the one day of the year where shoppers are reminded to spend their pound with independent and local businesses.

Some entrepreneurs are still unsure of what exactly it is and how they can get involved. To clear the confusion, here’s a quick explainer of what you need to know before the big day.

What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is a day devoted to supporting small businesses across the UK.

Like Black Friday, SBS is a US import. It happens on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest shopping periods of the year.

It was started by American Express in 2010 and came over to the UK in 2013, so it’s celebrating its sixth year here.

What is the purpose of Small Business Saturday?

Customers play a vital role in supporting small businesses and this day is a reminder of that, encouraging them to spend at a local rather than a corporate, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

An estimated £748 million was spent during Small Business Saturday 2017 and #SmallBizSatUK was trending at number one in the UK. It works!

How do I get involved? Is it too late?

It certainly isn’t – right now you can go to the Small Business Saturday website and:

  • Register and advertise your business on the Small Business Finder (free of charge)
  • Download the SBS logo to use on your website and social media
  • Download and print a free marketing pack
  • Tell the people at Small Business Saturday about any special plans you have on the day so that they can share them on social media

As a customer, you can find businesses using the Small Business Finder and upload pictures of yourself on social media using the hashtag #SmallBizSatUK.

What else can I do?

First, get your shop ready: put up signage, set up any special displays and, above all, prepare for a higher footfall. It might be an idea to stay open later as well, especially if you’re in a town centre.

If you haven’t thought about it already, consider what discounts and deals you can offer – think about rewarding loyal customers as well as attracting new ones. It’s the perfect chance to test out how popular certain products are ahead of the Christmas period too.

Provide customer refreshments to get people in the door. Offer up tea, coffee, nibbles and, if it’s relevant, product tasting.

“It’s the perfect chance to test out how popular certain products are ahead of the Christmas period”

Even if you’re exclusively online, you can explore deals and discounts that you can offer and ramp up your social media output.

Regardless if you operate online or in-store, see if you can partner up with any other small businesses in your area – it will reinforce both of your business efforts. Perhaps you could do some cross-promotion.

Oh, and send out a last-minute email reminder to shop with you on Small Business Saturday.

What support is out there for me?

Some local authorities help out by providing things like free parking on the day.

You can also visit the Small Business Saturday website which has loads of advice, inspiration and case studies.

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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Small Business Saturday