How to Benefit from Small Business Saturday (Even If You’re Not a Retailer)

Author: Rieva Lesonsky | November 14, 2018

As the holiday shopping season approaches its official kickoff date, retailers are buzzing with plans and marketing ideas for Small Business Saturday. Held annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 24 this year), it’s a day dedicated to encouraging consumers to shop at local independent businesses instead of big chains. 

But you don’t have to be a retailer or B2C business to benefit from Small Business Saturday. In this post, I’ll share what service businesses and B2B companies need to know in order to profit from this holiday.

Is it worth participating in Small Business Saturday?

Started in 2010, when the nation was still in the depths of the Great Recession, Small Business Saturday quickly took off.

Over the years, business associations, nonprofit trade groups, municipalities, and public officials have all thrown their support behind the event—with impressive results. Last year, it’s estimated that 108 million consumers shopped or dined at local independently-owned businesses on Small Business Saturday, spending some $12 billion.

Shopping at local small businesses keeps income, tax revenues, and jobs in communities—a plus for both you and your local customers. In fact, 90 percent of consumers surveyed believe Small Business Saturday has had a positive impact on their community.

Will your business benefit from Small Business Saturday? Taking a look at your historical sales figures can help you decide. If your industry is one where November (or winter in general) is typically slow, such as construction, roofing or landscaping, Small Business Saturday has the potential to give your cash flow a real boost.

How can non-retailers participate in Small Business Saturday?

Here are some ideas for ways B2B and service businesses can make the most of Small Business Saturday:

  • Promote your services as a thoughtful gift. For example, consumers might want to give their loved ones the gift of monthly housecleaning services, lawn-care services or personal chef services.
  • Sell gift certificates or gift cards that can be redeemed for services.
  • Sell subscriptions for ongoing services (such as a monthly housecleaning or auto detailing).
  • Offer a discount for customers who schedule an appointment on Small Business Saturday for a service in the future.
  • Offer B2B customers a discount for orders placed on Small Business Saturday.
  • Promote services that people or businesses need during the holidays, such as catering, maid service, food delivery, or putting up holiday decor on homes and offices.
  • Promote services people may not want now but will want in January. Think about common New Year’s resolutions, such as saving money, getting in shape, losing weight or getting organized. You could offer discounts for those who commit to personal training, gym memberships, household organization services, financial planning or executive coaching on Small Business Saturday.
  • Are you a contractor, remodeler or roofer? Offer a discount for contracts signed by the end of November for work to be done in the future.
  • Give current customers a discount, free gift or free service if they renew their annual contract on Small Business Saturday.
  • Hold a customer event for Small Business Saturday. Hold contests, and give out prizes and promotions.

How can your business get the most from Small Business Saturday?

Follow these steps to maximize results from your Small Business Saturday efforts.

  • Take advantage of free tools. Start by visiting the Small Business Saturday website, where you’ll find plenty of information, marketing ideas, and free marketing materials you can order. (Don’t delay: Free marketing materials are only available while supplies last.) You can also download and customize posters, email templates, and social media posts in both English and Spanish.
  • Develop a marketing plan. Prospects and customers may not expect a non-retail business to participate in Small Business Saturday. Let them know (and build anticipation) starting now. Use email marketing, social media, online advertising and signage in your location. Promote offers on your website homepage, and create special landing pages for each Small Business Saturday offer.
  • Be prepared. Staff up appropriately to handle extra phone calls, customer visits, or orders on Small Business Saturday. The last thing you want is to lose business because customers have to wait too long for assistance. If possible, enable self-service shopping on your business website.
  • Update local listings. Check your listings on local search directories to make sure information such as your business website address, street address, phone number, and hours of operation are current for the holiday season.
  • Get their info. Encourage first-time customers you get on Small Business Saturday to sign up for marketing emails and other communications so you can keep them engaged with your business throughout the holiday season . . . and all year long.

By collecting payment or deposits now for services to be provided in the future, Small Business Saturday can boost your business’s cash flow during what may be a slow time of year.

Think you may need more working capital to fulfill your Small Business Saturday sales? Fundbox can help. Find out more about applying for a revolving line of credit.

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