Podcast Key Highlights
What Day Is Small Business Saturday?
- November 25th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
How Should You Prepare?
- If you’re retailer or restaurateur find out now if your community is doing anything for Small Business Saturday. A lot of main streets and villages are putting on Small Business Saturday events.
- Start thinking now about any promotions you want to have that’s related to Small Business Saturday.
- Make sure your staffing is in good shape for Small Business Saturday. You don’t want to be understaffed. Bring in some high school or college kids to handle the additional traffic.
- Be sure you have enough inventory, especially if you’re running promotions.
- Consider selling online. You can even have an online Small Business Saturday sale.
- Sign up for a loyalty app. These entice people to keep coming back.
- Set up a buy now pay later process, so that people are less likely to leave your store if they don’t have the cash available. Buy now pay later is an increasingly popular option.
- Have a good customer relationship management (CRM) system. This way when people come to your business, you’re collecting their contact information. Sign them up for a newsletter. This lets you communicate in the future with them and collect marketing data.
The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are for informational purposes only, and solely those of the podcast participants, contributors, and guests, and do not constitute an endorsement by or necessarily represent the views of The Hartford or its affiliates.
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Hey everybody, this is Gene Marks. Welcome to another episode of the Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. Thank you so much for joining me. Glad that you are here. I am recording this now, near the end of October. We’re in the third week of October. It’s only a month away from Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is November 25th this year. It is the Saturday after Thanksgiving and right after Black Friday. That’s traditionally when it is. My best clients, I have to tell you, making plans for the 2023 Small Business Saturday right now. And you should be doing the same thing. If you’re a retailer, if you’re a restaurateur, if you are of any other kind of business where you think that Small Business Saturday deals might be for you, even if you’re a B2B business, now is the time to start your planning.
You don’t want to think about this a few days before. So what are my best clients doing right now to prepare for Small Business Saturday? Well, I’ve got a bunch of things that I want you to make sure that you are thinking about right now as you’re listening to this. Number one, if you’re a retailer or a restaurateur or part of another business community, you should find out now. If your community is doing anything for Small Business Saturday, a lot of main streets, a lot of villages, a lot of storefront shops, retail malls, the people that are running these organizations oftentimes put on Small Business Saturday events that they have, their local businesses participate in them. There’s no better way to generate more traffic for your business than getting involved in whatever overall event is going on in your area.
So start now and look for any events that are happening locally, even if it’s your Chamber of Commerce or an organization of stores or businesses in your area. Let’s see if they’re doing anything special for Small Business Saturday. And hey, you might want to organize one yourself. That involves other businesses. So that’s number one. Number two, start thinking now about any potential promotions that you would like to have that’s related to Small Business Saturday. Maybe it’s 10% off a certain product or buy one get one free or something specifically tailored towards, the holiday season. Well start thinking about them now so you can get your materials together, your advertisements together, your promotional items together so that you are ready to go on Small Business Saturday. Next, make sure your staffing is in good shape for Small Business Saturday.
A lot of times people get understaffed or they don’t think to bring on people. It’s a Saturday, it’s over the Thanksgiving weekend. You’ve got the opportunity maybe to bring in some high school or college kids that might be home from break just to work a day or two in your place to handle the additional traffic. You don’t wanna be in a situation where you are missing out on sales or opportunities because you don’t have enough staff to handle that potential customer demand. That’s like a disaster. So staff up now, think about who is gonna be…
Manning your operations again, whether you’re in a B2B business or if you’re in a restaurant or a retail store. Because if you are expecting to do stuff for Small Business Saturday and you do think there will be extra traffic, you’re gonna need the staff to handle it. Next, check your inventory. If you are running special promotions or if you think that there is going to be more traffic in your store, or maybe you’re involved in a community activity that’s gonna generate more interest, well that means that you’re gonna have more people coming through your store, which means, and hopefully buying your products. The last thing you want to do is run outta products. So you’ve got a month to plan. If you are gonna be doing certain promotions on an item, do you think you have enough inventory of that item? Should you be buying more?
Should you be preparing for the fact that even if you do run out of an item, you’ve got an alternative item to sale or sell or at least an alternative method for people to get that item maybe after the fact. But check your inventory and make sure you are all together on the items that you are gonna be promoting on Small Business Saturday. Next, consider selling online. Just because you have a retail store or even a restaurant doesn’t mean all your business has to come from there. My best clients have multiple channels that they are selling through. Listen, even Amazon and Apple at Microsoft, they’ve got stores that they sell stuff out of include, as well as selling stuff online. Good businesses have multiple channels that they sell their products through. So if you want to take advantage of Small Business Saturday, rather than doing something that’s brick and mortar, you might want to have a special online Small Business Saturday sale.
So you want to gear up, make your plans now, maybe put some money away for promoting your site, your e-commerce store, and hey, who knows, you might be able to sell a lot of stuff on Small Business Saturday to people all over the country, let alone just people that visit your business in your town. So consider your online capabilities and also have that as an alternative to selling stuff out of your store for customers that come in. Next, if you don’t have a loyalty app, if you’re a retailer or a restaurateur, now’s the time to sign up for one. I can recommend a bunch if you want to reach out to me separately. But loyalty apps are really big. The idea here is you’re gonna be getting some traffic coming into your store and you wanna sign people up for those loyalty apps.
And hopefully it’ll entice them to keep coming back. Plus, you can gather their contact information for future sales. So have a loyalty app. By all means, get one up and running. They’re usually mobile apps. Some of them are actually more old school, but you wanna be in a position where people coming into your store during Small Business Saturday are using those apps for you. Speaking of apps, a big thing over the past couple of years among retailers has been buy now pay later applications, which basically gives your customers the ability to basically have a layaway plan for items that they’re purchasing from you, particularly if they’re bigger ticket items. If you don’t have a buy now pay later process set up, with a platform that does that and there are plenty out there as well, I can recommend some separately.
You need to get that set up because when somebody comes into your store, the last thing you want them to do is to walk out of your store because they don’t have the cash available. You want to give them as many options as possible to buy your products and buy now, pay later has been an increasingly popular option, particularly among younger buyers as well that might not have credit cards or don’t really want to go in for that sort of thing. But BNPL, buy now, pay later programs allows them to pay things off in like 2, 3, 4 months without any penalties or interest. It’s a really, really great way to sell your products and help with financing. So consider a buy now pay later platform, get it up and running before Small Business Saturday.
And finally, Small Business Saturday is certainly a sales event and certainly something that hopefully will generate some, some revenues and profits for your business now, but it’s also a marketing event. It’s your opportunity to bring people into your place of business and gather information about them. Why? Because after it’s all over, after the holidays are behind us, you still need sales in January and February and March, you still gotta go after people. So have a good customer relationship management system, a CRM system. You can combine it with those loyalty apps that I talked about earlier. That way when people come into your store, your place of business, you wanna be collecting their contact information, sign ’em up for special promotions or a…
Newsletter, something else you can offer them in the future. That way you can go back to them in January and February and say, “hey, we’re now offering special promotions on this or discounts on that and won’t you come and buy from us again.” It’s a great way to collect marketing data during the holidays so that you can sell to people after the holidays. So lemme recap. Number one, check with your community to see if they’re doing Small Business Saturday events. Number two, decide on your promotions now so you can gear up for it, including putting aside some advertising budget. Number three, staff up and make sure you’re gonna have people available to serve your hopefully more customers on Small Business Saturday. Number four, check your inventory. If you’re running any special promotions or discounts or programs you wanna make sure you’re gonna have product to sell.
So check and buy it now. Number five, if you’re not selling online, maybe you should be, maybe you should have a online sales specifically for Small Business Saturday. Give that some thought now because it’s gonna take some time to get it set up. Number six, if you don’t have a loyalty application, you should have one for your business so customers can keep coming back. Number seven, if you don’t have buy now, pay later set up. You should have that set up so that customers won’t walk away without buying products. And finally, have a CRM system so you can collect data from all those people coming into your place of business and use that data to sell to them sometime in the future. These are the things you should be doing to capitalize on Small Business Saturday and you don’t do these things just a few days before.
It’s the end of October. You’ve got a full month, it’s time to make your plans and make sure you’re ready to go. The clients that I have, the businesses that I know that plan ahead really well do these things in advance. They’re the ones that take the biggest advantage and reap the biggest profits over event days like this. So I hope this information helps and I wanna wish you best of luck on Small Business Saturday. I hope it’s a super successful day for you and your business and it leads into more sales in the future. My name is Gene Marks and you have been listening to another episode of the Hartford’s Small Biz Ahead podcast. If you need any advice or tips or help in running your business, please visit us at sba.thehartford.com or smallbizahead.com. I’ll be back to you next week with another tip to help you run your business. Until then, take care. Okay.
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