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small biz 100

How Marketing by Minal became a Small Biz 100 & how you can too!

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I started Marketing by Minal at the end of March 2016. Whilst there were many things I was uncertain about, one thing was clear in my mind. When the applications for the Small Biz 100 opened, I would be applying.

What is the Small Biz 100?

I’m glad you asked that! It’s 100 small businesses chosen by Small Business Saturday to feature every day in the 100 days leading up to Small Business Saturday. Every year, Small Business Saturday has done a brilliant job of promoting that year’s Small Biz 100, and I knew that I wanted to benefit from the value they added to other businesses. If you want to know who the other businesses are, take a look at this article.

So, now you know what it is, here’s how I got there.

The application

Most of it was easy and took no time at all. I just had to think about all the reasons I thought Small Business Saturday is such a great idea and put those in my application. Because it’s a celebration of all small businesses, it really wasn’t that difficult to put down why I’m such a big believer in it.

I also had a bit of a plan about how I would help other small businesses in the lead up to Small Business Saturday (which is 3 December this year. Put it in your calendar!) I know that a lot of business owners will find it a challenge to create a marketing campaign to promote themselves on the day, so I decided that I was going to help them.

Now for the scary bit…

I had to make a video. Yes, me, the former marketing manager who was always the person behind the camera; managing the cameraman and the interviewee. I won’t lie, it filled me with a huge amount of dread. But, it had to be done. So, for the first time in my career, I downloaded some video software, took a big breath and went for it. But you can use your smartphone too. It doesn’t need to be complicated.

After the first take, I realised I had no idea how to edit the video, nor the time to work it out. So, 12 more takes later (yes, I’ll admit to that), I had a video I was happy to submit along with my application.

Fast forward to…

Friday 12 August, which I’ll remember forever. Why? It’s the first time my business has ever appeared in a national newspaper. The Small Business Saturday PR machine was underway and Marketing by Minal, along with 99 other businesses were featured in The Guardian. Not bad for a relatively easy application. I know there will be other opportunities along the way for my business, not forgetting my own day, which Small Business Saturday will announce. Make sure you follow them on Facebook and Twitter to meet all of the Small Biz 100!

What’s more, I now have a network of 99 other businesses I can share ideas with, help out and maybe even buy from. That’s not bad, is it?

How can you take part?

Just because you missed the application for the Small Biz 100 doesn’t mean you’ve missed out. Oh, no! There’s a whole host of information on the Small Business Saturday website that will show you how you can take part this year. So, get yourself over there and get involved – it’s free so what have you got to lose?

Apply next year

If I haven’t scared you off, then make sure you apply to be a Small Biz 100 next year. It’s the best thing I did for my business and it will be for yours. Here are my top 5 tips on what you should do:

  1. Join the Small Business Saturday mailing list. They will tell you when applications are open.
  2. Between now and next year’s application period, take lots of photos of you in your business, with your clients and of your products. You’ll need them for the application and beyond.
  3. Practice making videos now. They are a great way of engaging your audience on social media and in emails. If you start now, you’ll be better at it than I was and your application will rock.
  4. Start posting regularly on social media. It’s worth building your audience now because they’ll be some of the people you share your news with when you become a Small Biz 100.
  5. Start a newsletter and ask your current customers to join your list. Again, you’ll want to share your good news and who better than with your customers?

I hope you take part in Small Business Saturday this year. If you’re struggling on what you should do, join my mailing list. I’ll be sharing ideas on how to create and promote the perfect offer for the day and beyond.