sbs-open-signAs Small Business Saturday draws inexorably near, now is the time to begin preparing for the onslaught of customers who will pass through your doors. Maybe not an onslaught, but at least a slaught; or a slew. Regardless, a little planning and prep will go a long way towards making Small Business Saturday a success, and the best part is you don’t have to invest a fortune to make it happen.

Develop a Small Business Saturday Plan

Like any good marketing campaign, developing a plan and then acting on it are the primary elements. The five key components to a successful Small Business Saturday are straightforward and revolve around the business acumen you have already acquired. They are:

Set Goals

To establish your goals, consider what the ideal outcomes would be once Small Business Saturday has passed. What are the things you want to have accomplished regarding sales, building a customer base, recognition, financial milestones, publicity, etc.?

Assess Your Base Clientele

Take time to reflect on the type of customers who comprise your most frequent and reliable visitors. Then consider the casual, occasional visitor. What qualities do they share and how can you extend your reach to others who have some or all of them? This also requires you to…

Evaluate What You Have to Offer

Do you offer products that appeal to a broad or narrow clientele? How do you meet the needs of any given customer who walks through the door? What opportunities are available to expand or strengthen your customer base?

Select a Promotional Approach

The way you put your marketing plan into motion is up to you and you should choose approach that is most comfortable and that you think would deliver the greatest returns. However, you have a number of inexpensive (and by inexpensive, I mean free) tools at your disposal that are extremely effective. Take advantage of the email lists you have developed and send out notifications about Small Business Saturday. Use your Facebook page and other social media to encourage people to come to your store (use both emails and Facebook for special perks for recipients). Finally, your Chamber of Commerce, bank, and other businesses and organizations that have a stake in a successful Small Business Saturday have free promotional kits available for the asking.

Put Your Plan in Action

Talk is cheap, and if you simply talk about your plan, you’ll go broke. You’ve put together a good approach so set it in motion. This is your Call to Action. Let everyone know that your doors will be open on Small Business Saturday and those who come by will have one of the best shopping experiences possible.

Through all of this, though, don’t forget what brought you to where you are in the first place. By providing the simple pleasures of life – a warm and friendly smile, a welcoming word of greeting, a sincere interest in all who walk through you doors, and willingness to meet your customers’ needs (qualities that corporate giants wish they had) – you tacitly invite customers to stop and linger, browse, purchase and, most important, encourage them to continue to visit and shop.