Small Business Saturday is more than a day to support local businesses. It was created in 2010 as a response to small business owners’ most pressing need: more customers. And, there isn’t a better day to attract more customers than the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which makes the busiest shopping weekend of the year. The Florida Retail Federation says that holiday shopping can account for 20 to 40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales and 2012 is predicted to inject $58 billion into Florida’s economy.
“In just three years, Small Business Saturday went from an idea to help Small Businesses find more customers, to a permanent fixture on the holiday shopping calendar,” Susan Sobbott, president, American Express OPEN said in a press release. “According to the research, we are seeing the small business community take ownership of the day and make it their own.”
American Express, founding partner of the event, reported that more than 500,000 small business owners leveraged an online tool or promotional materials for Small Business Saturday in 2011.
According to the Small Business Saturday Insights Survey for 2012:
- 46 percent of businesses will create coupons for future offers or discounts;
- 25 percent of businesses will offer free gift wrapping;
- 23 percent of businesses will giveaway prizes or hosts contests;
- 20 percent of businesses will give away free items with purchase.
Businesses can access the merchant toolkit on www.ShopSmall.com for promotional ideas to boost traffic and sales; downloads; and a glimpse of what business owners did to capture customers in previous years. Free Small Business Saturday marketing materials can be downloaded from www.ShopSmall.com/marketing-resources.
- Free Downloadable Marketing Materials Include:
- Online banners and logos – Digital offerings to promote small businesses on their blogs, websites or anywhere else online;
- Signage – Two 11”x17”pieces of signage (which can be professionally printed for free at FedEx Office® if they choose to take advantage of FedEx’s offer) to help attract customers in-store or around town. Small business owners can visit shopsmall.com/fedexoffice to access the Small Business Saturday posters and see the FedEx Offer Terms. FedEx Office will also provide additional discount printing offers to small business owners when they pick up their posters;
- Social media and email templates – Preloaded posts, blog examples, tweets and emails to help drive traffic;
To help spread the word and enthusiasm, American Express is partnering with businesses and entrepreneurship organizations, like Small Business Development Centers, across the country.
“Entrepreneurship should be protected and nourished as the key to furthering economic prosperity in Florida,” said Jerry Cartwright, Florida Small Business Development Center Network state director. “We are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs achieve their full business potential and are incorporating Small Business Saturday and National Entrepreneurship Month in our marketing materials around the state to help the community celebrate our business owners and to help business owners reach more customers during a time of increased consumer spending.”
Successful Business Owners in the Bay Area:
- The retired U.S. Air Force captain who bought a franchise in Palm Harbor offering professional assistance with everyday home repairs, improvements and remodels across the U.S. and Canada, received minority certifications, which opened the doors to new opportunities, has grown her business nearly 200% over the past year. full story
- The woman who, after walking in honor of her sister to raise money for cancer research, started a business in her home in Tampa developing fundraising merchandise at wholesale prices so people could raise money for various causes has grown over 80% each of the last three years and is now located in a 15,000 square foot warehouse with 13 employees. full story
- The 27 year old, service-connected disabled Marine Corp. veteran who returned from Iraqi Freedom and started his own marketing, public relations and advertising firm in Weeki Wachee now has a $1.5 million operation with a team of 10 employees. full story
Florida Small Business Development Center Network: Small Business Saturday Partner:
State Designated as Florida’s Principal Provider of Business Assistance, the Florida Small Business Development Center Network serves every county in Florida. The SBDC at USF region spans a 10-county area providing no-cost, consulting and offering more than 450 entrepreneurial programs each year. Its Certified Business Analysts are specialized in industry-specific sectors to help small businesses make sound decisions in a complex and ever-changing marketplace. www.sbdctampabay.com