Help! Small Business Saturday doesn’t work for my boring, old business
Yep, I can hear it up and down the country. Lots of businesses, who sell to other businesses (B2Bs) bemoaning the fact that Small Business Saturday just isn’t for them. After all, you’re not an exciting 70s and 80s soul, funk and disco night for the over 40s, like Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet. Or a creative business like The Chocolate Cellar. Or even a fun retailer like Boo’s Toy Shop.
Guess what? My business is not one of the ones I mentioned, but I think it is exciting, fun and creative. What’s more, your business is too, and you can be every bit as involved in Small Business Saturday as the businesses I’ve mentioned. Here’s how.
Have you thought about teaming up with other businesses in your area? Running your own business can be lonely and getting together with other businesses helps generate ideas. Easy for you to say, you’re thinking.
Well, I did just that. I met up with Fifth Dimension Chocolates to talk about how we could raise awareness of Small Business Saturday in Hillingdon. We decided that we needed to do something.
Out of that meeting came Hillingdon Small Business. We’re on Twitter (@HillingdonBiz) sharing advice, tips and generally helping other small businesses in our borough.
Here’s the thing, though. We’re hoping to ramp it up enough to build a strong group that meets regularly, in person and online, to support one another. And if we come up with an idea for Small Business Saturday together, we all benefit.
Show your expertise
There are lots of businesses that would benefit from your expertise. Think about what you offer and how you can package that up so that other businesses can learn from you. What does that ‘package’ look like? Here are some ideas.
- If you’re an IT company, you could create a step-by-step guide about how businesses can avoid cyber threats. Only people who book a consultancy with you receive the guide.
- If you’re a web design service, like Askew Brooke, you might offer a free website health check to the first 10 people who fill in a form on your website.
- If you’re a marketing company (like me – shameless plug) you might offer a free webinar about how to get ready for Small Business Saturday.
There are lots of things you can do to show off your expertise; you just have to find the right way for your business, plus a creative way to promote it. Which brings me to my next point.
I know, I know. You don’t have the time. I disagree. B2Bs need to find a way to stand out, and that means you need to get your thinking cap on. Step out from behind the company persona and think about what makes you unique. Whatever you decide to do, it needs to fit with your brand personality and how you want to be perceived. You also have to be comfortable with it.
However, sometimes it’s good to step out of that comfort zone that everyone talks about.
Find out what’s going on
You may think that it’s too late for you to plan your own offer this year (it isn’t, read my blog post on why you’ll be missing out if you don’t take part), but there are still things you can do.
Look out for events that are being run in your local area. What do YOU need help with to run your
business? Are there any seminars or workshops that you can attend? Yes, it’s a Saturday, but it’s also the opportunity to work ON your business rather than IN it.
The other thing you can do is support local, small business. Every year, I head out on Small Business Saturday to buy my Christmas tree from Uxbridge Flowers. I’ll take the time to wander around the stallholders in the Pavillions Shopping Centre looking for Christmas presents. I also try to eat out at an independent restaurant.
Throughout the day, I ask business owners I buy from for a photo with me (if they agree – most do) and post on Twitter and Instagram. I use #SmallBizSatUK and the kind folks over at Small Business Saturday share my posts. So, get involved in what’s going on in your local area and plan what you’ll do for next year.