The events leading up to Small Business Saturday should have a reach beyond the four walls of your establishment. Community involvement is crucial to its success because, bottom line, it is the local populace who will be visiting and spending their hard earned do-re-mi with your business. In order to bring as many from your neighborhood and surrounding areas through your doors, taking the initiative and organizing a community-wide event is a pro-active approach that will reap a huge return for your efforts.
Organizing and Planning a Neighborhood Event
Putting together an event that promotes and raises awareness of Small Business Saturday and how everyone benefits through shopping small can be as elaborate or as simple, as large or as small, as you choose to make it. Obviously, the larger and more complex the activity, the more lead-time you need, but regardless of how much time (and funding, for that matter) you have available, the fundamental principles are still the same.
Create a Plan
You need a big picture here: Create a working plan of your vision. Do not begin the project without a game plan that includes a specific set of goals, an established budget, assigned duties, target dates, contingency plans, and anticipated outcomes. Strive for perfection – you may not reach it, but along the way you are sure to achieve excellence.
Decide Who You Want to Reach and Bring Multiple Small Businesses into the Mix
The greater the scope and reach of your event, the better it will be. Even if it is nothing more than creating a bazaar-type atmosphere where your business is located, work with the other small businesses in your area and interact with each other. Brainstorm ways to entice shoppers to visit multiple stores. If this is a neighborhood celebration, remember that your fellow business owners are you neighbors. When everyone is involved, all are invested in the outcome.
Make It an Event to Remember
Work within your budget to make the Small Business Saturday event one that sets the bar high and establishes a foundation for annual celebrations. Flair and panache are elements of style – they do not have to be expensive. Tap into the different skill sets and contacts the members of your organizing committee have. When you make a big splash, the ripples spread for a long time.
Make It a Celebration of What’s Right with Your Community
Remember, this is about small businesses and their importance to almost every aspect of life in your community and neighborhood. Make it an opportunity for the different businesses to show the myriad ways they are involved in the daily lives of everyone, and how all are part of what goes on. Unlike large corporations that are so poor all they have is their money, the riches of small businesses are built on the relationships they create within the community.
Spread the Word
All the planning and preparation in the world are useless if no one knows what’s happening. Use email, in-store signage, social media, and the free marketing materials that your local Chamber, Small Business Association, and other organizations make available to help promote your event. Check with local radio stations and ask if they will promote the event as a public service. Talk with the mayor about a declaration at your event recognizing Small Business Saturday and invite the local media. Crank up the buzz to eleven and enjoy the feedback.
There is no reason that small businesses should not have their fair share of the revenues generated during the holiday season. With a little bit of planning and tapping into the drive and enterprising spirit that motivated you to go into business in the first place, you can create a Small Business Saturday neighborhood event that will have your customers wanting more.