Collaborate to Celebrate Small Business Saturday

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Small Business Saturday will be on Nov. 25 this year. In an age of e-commerce, this day is set aside to encourage shoppers to support small, local brick-and-mortar businesses. It was celebrated for the first time on Nov. 27, 2010. American Express Corp. registered the trademark, Small Business Saturday and promoted it nationwide that year.

American Express now has a website that offers suggestions and materials to help retailers maximize the day: Its Shop Small Studio provides customizable marketing materials for social media, websites and physical locations. It also offers the option to have the materials in Spanish.

American Express encourages small-business owners to unite with each other as Neighborhood Champions. A Neighborhood Champion rallies other small businesses to participate in Small Business Saturday. This can be done by championing a community cause, organizing a community event, reaching out to a least 10 other small businesses, and by distributing Shop Small Merchandise.

Setting up a centralized Shop Small Welcome Station with information about participating small businesses in the area and maps is a good way to get shoppers oriented and guide them throughout the day.

One suggested community event that welcomes customers is a Rise and Shine Kickoff Breakfast. The website offers an event guide to assist retailers in putting the breakfast together. A breakfast can be as simple as bagels and tea, or it can be a large spread. Either way, it will bring people together and energize them before a day of shopping. The downloadable event guide includes: a “How-To” sheet for business owners, a pancake recipe, a poster, logos, sample tweets and sample Facebook and Instagram cover photos.

Another fun way to celebrate the day is with a passport and scavenger hunt. The Passport Project is an event in which shoppers are given passports that are stamped each time they visit a participating retailer. The stamps then enable customers to receive a little something special at another participating small business. This could be in the form of a discount, a cup of tea or a souvenir. The website also provides downloadable materials for promoting this kind of event and sample content for social media.

Meeting with other local small-business owners before Nov. 25 to plan for how to collaborate is essential. If several small business work together for a fun and festive Small Business Saturday, all involved will benefit.