Small Business Saturday’s Growing Success
Originating in the U.S. in November 2010, Small Business Saturday is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Founded and sponsored by American Express, Small Business Saturday encourages seasonal shoppers to prioritize and buy from businesses that are small and local. This grassroots campaign highlights the importance of supporting businesses in their communities, and is celebrated annually on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
American Express launched Small Business Saturday and the “Shop Small” initiative in an effort to support small businesses that were suffering from the economy in recession. Just two years later, President Barack Obama acknowledged the day and the Senate passed a resolution in support, with officials in 50 states participating. In 2011, the Small Business Saturday Coalition was formed by business associations, public officials, and municipalities determined to support the movement.
In 2013, 1,400 individuals, organizations, and businesses signed up to be “Neighborhood Champions,” a program whereby community members have the opportunity to spread the word, rally local support, and organize community events. The number of Neighborhood Champions has continued to grow over time, with a total of 7,500 represented this year.
This year’s Small Business Saturday brought in an estimated $17.8 billion spent at independent restaurants and retailers in the U.S.– a record high.
Following its huge success in America, Small Business Saturday was brought to the UK. Celebrated annually on the first Saturday of December, it was estimated that £717m was spent with small businesses in 2016, rising to £748 in 2017. As well as increased spending, the day drove impressive social results, with the #SmallBizSatUK campaign trending at number one in the UK on Twitter, reaching over 115 million people globally.
This year, according to research commissioned by American Express, an estimated £812 million was spent across the UK. Up 8% from the amount spent in 2017, 59% of people aware of the day saying they spent more than usual.
The long-term awareness that has been raised through the day has provided crucial benefits to small businesses who are able to showcase their products and services within their local communities. More and more people are thinking small and choosing local-first, demonstrating the value of small businesses in the American economy. Believe it or not, according to research conducted by the Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 99.7% of all registered businesses in the U.S.
In just 8 years, Small Business Saturday has crossed continents and seen huge increases in both awareness and spending. This not only demonstrates potential for the future, but the speed at which it can be achieved…
2018 – 2019
The rise in resources for entrepreneurs is at a high, and the proliferation of technology has enabled more people to try starting their own business. Self-employment is now making up a larger portion of overall employment in the U.S., but with this increased competition, it’s vital that small businesses keep themselves competitive, dynamic, and agile.
Read on to find out some ways you can prepare your business for the year to come:
Rise in Mobile
As the majority of businesses can now be found on the web, optimizing your business’s online presence is necessary to remain competitive. Smartphone browsing has overtaken laptops as the primary means for accessing the Internet, which makes it important for businesses to take the time to develop their mobile offering for 2019. Mobile technologies should be ingrained in your business’s strategy for the new year, allowing customers to easily search, discover, and purchase your products or services from the palm of their hands.
Google has encouraged this mobile-first approach with mobile-first indexing. Mobile-first indexing means that Google now crawls every website’s mobile web pages when establishing its search engine rankings before it crawls desktop web pages.
Google has already begun to roll out mobile-first indexing to more and more sites it crawls, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to utilize your digital presence and optimize your website’s mobile speed and performance.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
2018 saw a rise in platforms and apps based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Impacting several industries, these technologies are predicted to continue to advance well past 2019. Large, global businesses such as Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook are investing heavily in research and development of AI, to bring the market closer to their customers.
Leader in the tech sector and Chief Revenue Officer for the ERP Cloud at SAP, Melissa Di Donato has stated that AI will continue to drive the biggest innovations in the coming years, “once in a generation a disruptive technology arrives and changes everything. For this generation, it is artificial intelligence. The real risk UK businesses face is not embracing AI and the productivity benefits it can provide.”
Customer service and support is benefitting from the raise of AI, allowing simple questions and requests to be answered through chatbots. Understand the importance for small businesses to have an awareness and understanding of AI in their markets here.
Invest in Video
If you haven’t planned to dedicate resources towards a marketing plan that involves video, then you’re missing out on an effective way to engage with your online audience (a source that is growing in popularity and prevalence). It was predicted that by 2019, online content will consist of roughly 80% video marketing, which is why it’s crucial to set aside a significant portion of your budget for your video strategy.
The movement to video streaming has been occurring for years, from YouTube to Snapchat, Instagram stories to Vine, video clips present businesses the opportunity to evoke emotion and appeal to their customer base in an authentic and inspiring way.
It’s important not to underestimate or discount which social platform fits best with your brand. There is more that goes into social than just setting up the relevant channel accounts. Focus on promoting your social media presence by paying attention to larger social media trends that you can base a campaign off of.
Sign Up for Awards
Entering award competitions can be hugely beneficial for small businesses publicity, giving customers confidence in a company’s credibility. With increased competition, it’s smart to set your business apart by entering small business awards competition that celebrates the success of this important community.
There are a number of different award ceremonies that small businesses can get involved with, one of which is hosted by the Small Business Expo. The Best of Small Business Awards (TM) is the largest annual business recognition program in the U.S.that celebrates small to mid-sized business visionaries. Hosted in 17 cities, the event boasts 20 award categories:
- Best Accounting Firm
- Best Customer Service
- Best Law Firm
- Best Printing Company
- Entrepreneur of the Year
- Best App
- Best Financial Advisor
- Best Marketing Agency
- Best SEO Company
- Best Business Coach
- Best IT Company
- Best Non-Profit
- Best Workplace
- Small Business of the Year
- Best Business Publication
- Best Innovative Product
- Best PR Agency
- CEO of the Year
- Start-up of the Year
Businesses of all industries can benefit from national recognition as one of the top small businesses in the U.S. Nominate your business here.
While creating, maintaining, and growing a new business brings its own challenges, those involved benefit from advantages not felt in larger, corporate firms. It’s an exciting time for small businesses. A time that’s full of opportunities for those who are determined to succeed.
2019, we’re ready for you!