American Express started the first Small Business Saturday back in 2010, and it has been going strong ever since. What started as a small initiative has evolved into a major event, earning recognition from the United States Senate and support from President Obama. Your small business shouldn’t take Small Business Saturday lightly. To help you maximize benefits from this celebration of small business, here are 5 easy ways you can start preparing.
1. Drum Up Excitement on Social Media
There’s no better way to get your local community excited than social media—it’s cost effective and gives you wide reach. Now, remember, you don’t have to join every single social media network out there. Use the tool that makes the most sense for your audience.
Consider partnering with a social media influencer to help promote Small Business Saturday. You can team up to post about Small Business Saturday, and you can even negotiate for the social media influencer to attend your store for an hour or two to attract more people.
2. Boost Cybersecurity Efforts
The costs of a hack are huge for small businesses—in fact, 60% of small businesses close within six months if they’ve been prey to a cyber attack. Because you’ll likely get an influx of online customers looking to make a purchase on Small Business Saturday, cyber security is particularly important during this event. Don’t give hackers the opportunity to steal personal information from your customers!
Make sure to perform a security audit of your business and verify that you have the latest version of your security software. Update all business computers because otherwise harmful malware and viruses can slip through the cracks.
3. Partner with Other Local Businesses
Businesses, especially in small towns, aren’t the best at cooperating with each other. This is a lost opportunity for everyone; figuring out ways to partner with other local businesses should be a strategic focus, especially for Small Business Saturday. Work together to promote Small Business Saturday—it’s in everyone’s best interests to attract as many potential customers as possible.
Plan and execute strategic marketing initiatives together. Host a Twitter chat with another related business using the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday and send out newsletters featuring other small businesses participating in the event. If other local businesses did exceptionally well sales-wise in previous years, get together and learn from their success.
4. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
While the majority of individuals make online purchases via their desktop, the number of people making purchases on their mobile devices is growing. According to Outer Box Design, 125 million US consumers own smartphones, and 62% of them have used their mobile device to make a purchase in the last six months.
You can easily determine if your website is mobile friendly by taking Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. If your website scores poorly, it might be time to consult a web developer. Or, if your website is on WordPress, it’s fairly simple to find or buy mobile responsive themes.
5. Invest in a Credit Card Reader
The easier it is for your customers to pay, the better! Credit card readers have exploded in popularity in recent years because they are a good, low-budget alternative to a full card-reading system. Even if you already have a card-reading system, a credit card reader can help you ring up more customers or go to offsite events such as farmers’ markets.
There are plenty of good credit card readers out there, and deciding which one you get ultimately comes down to the needs of your small business. Take a careful look at the fees and unique features of each credit card reader to make your choice.