The end of November is marked by Black Friday and Cyber Monday, giving shoppers the opportunity to buy items on sale. However, these days tend to predominantly benefit larger businesses and e-commerce retailers. To help out smaller, local brick-and-mortar businesses, Small Business Saturday was developed. But how can I take part in Small Business Saturday?
What exactly is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday started as a marketing initiative and shopping holiday in the US in November 2010. It was designed to encourage people to shop on the Saturday after US Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday acts as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where customers shop at big retailers and larger stores with mass sales and huge discounts. Small Business Saturday, on the other hand, encourages customers to support small, local businesses.
After the success of Small Business Saturday in the US, Small Business Saturday spread to the UK in 2012.
Since the first Small Business Saturday, this shopping holiday has become an annual event. It’s a chance for small businesses to promote themselves, work with other small businesses, and encourage customers to ‘shop locally’ to support them.
This year’s UK Small Business Saturday is on the 3 December 2022.
I’m a small business, how can I take part in Small Business Saturday?
Taking part in Small Business Saturday is simple. If you’re a small business, you can register and advertise your business on the Small Business Saturday’s website for free. Once registered, you can also use Small Business Saturday’s logo and marketing materials for free.
Consider making your business appealing to customers by:
- creating short-form video content advertising your business (eg making bite-sized TikToks or Instagram Reels showcasing your products or Small Business Saturday promotions)
- collaborating with other local businesses (eg organising an event together with another small business in your area or approaching a local influencer to host an event on your business’ grounds)
- extending your operating hours
- launching a new product or service
- offering discounts on popular items
Any business considering taking part in Small Business Saturday should also make sure they have the correct documents in place to protect themselves when doing business with customers. To support your business, make sure your documents are relevant and up-to-date. Consider having in place:
- Terms and conditions, which are useful if you want to sell goods or services
- Website terms and conditions if you run a website and want to set out how your website can be used
When dealing with customers, you also need to make sure you comply with your legal obligations as a business. These include:
- certain consumer rights
- marketing considerations (especially if you’re sending marketing emails before or after Small Business Saturday)
- data protection requirements
- certain online business regulations for businesses that operate online
For more information, read Make business contracts and Run an online business. Do not hesitate to Ask a lawyer if you have any questions. You’ll be able to get a discount on your fees if you need more help after your question is answered.
How can I support Small Business Saturday?
As a business
If you’re a small business yourself, think about how you can provide your goods or services to other businesses.
You can also consider giving tips and advice to newer businesses that have just started. After all, it’s important for communities to help each other where possible.
If your business has a social media presence, consider using it to support and promote awareness of Small Business Saturday and any small businesses you like. Consider tagging your posts using Small Business Saturday hashtags like #SmallBusinessSaturday, #SmallBizSatUK, #ShopLocal and #ShopSmall.
But Small Business Saturday doesn’t have to be all about shopping. Instead, consider using it as a networking opportunity. Speak to follow small business owners and make connections – you may be able to help each other out in the long run.
As a private person
Supporting Small Business Saturday as a private person (ie a consumer) is fairly straightforward.
By shopping locally you can help support smaller businesses in your community and, therefore, Small Business Saturday. For example, rather than doing your weekly shop at a large supermarket, consider going to your local farmers’ market or butcher.
Additional steps you can take to support small businesses and Small Business Saturday include:
- leaving positive reviews for small businesses (eg your favourite local restaurant or independent bookshop) – this can help grow the business and help it further establish itself
- posting on social media about businesses you like – similar to leaving a review, you can use social media to let others know about your favourite local businesses (remember to use the Small Business Saturday hashtags if you do!)
- helping to fund small businesses – small businesses may be looking for funding to get their feet in the door. If you have the money to spare and would like to support a new small business, consider browsing crowdfunding sites (eg Kickstarter and Indiegogo) and making contributions
Visit the Small Business Saturday website to find out more about Small Business Saturday in the UK.