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How everyone can embrace Small Business Saturday

On 6 December the UK will host its second ever Small Business Saturday event - an annual initiative championing small businesses arcross the country.

It's designed to encourage more consumers in the UK to buy from small, local businesses rather than big retail chains, and always takes place on the first Saturday of December – historically the busiest shopping day of the year.

The initiative is a fantastic opportunity for small retailers to take advantage of the Christmas rush - as well as being a great chance for people to support local businesses during a season that’s typically dominated by retail giants.

With the backing of all political parties – as well as the likes of the Federation of Small Businesses – the event certainly has the potential to have a big impact. We’ve taken a look at some of the businesses getting involved and what it is they're expecting from the day.

Small businesses in action

Nicola Mason, a jewellery designer and entrepreneur, launched her online jewellery business ‘Hey Sailor’ over a year ago. She’ll be joining forces with several other small businesses to launch a pop-up shop in the centre of Glasgow for this year’s SBS event.

She told the Telegraph: “By getting a few businesses together, we’re going to attract bigger crowds and reach complementary customers. Sometimes it surprises you who will buy from you – you get an idea of who your target customer is but you can be wrong.”

Nicola is also a strong believer that ecommerce retail businesses are likely to benefit the most from SBS: “Even if people don’t buy on the day, they can come back to our web shop later and buy. We can also use Small Business Saturday on social media to reach customers who are hundreds of miles away from Glasgow.”

It’s not just online businesses that are set to benefit from SBS, either.

“People don’t always think about where they spend their money. They can make a huge difference to a small business, rather than buying something that’s rolled off a production line in China." - Katie Ellis, Partner at Thomas Flinn.

Brewing for success

Two Fingers Brewing Company is a new, independent craft beer firm that launched in January this year. The brewery has already enjoyed some fantastic early success with its maiden brew stocked in Tesco and Morrisons stores across the UK - and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has now agreed to sell the beer in his chain of restaurants in support of SBS.

The brewery’s co-founder, Matt Sadley, claims that social media plays a considerable role in making SBS successful for small businesses. This is no surprise, considering #SmallBizSatUK was among the top three terms trending on Twitter on the day last year. Matt says: “We’ve already received lots of new followers and tweets as a result of being in the Small Business Saturday 100.”

While SBS will help to stimulate support for small businesses on 6th December, it’s also hoped that consumers will get in the habit of shopping local for the rest of the year.

Building for the future

Katie Ellis is the boss of the UK’s oldest saw manufacturer, Thomas Flinn, and she explains that local firms need support from consumers beyond SBS.

Katie says: “People don’t always think about where they spend their money. They can make a huge difference to a small business, rather than buying something that’s rolled off a production line in China.

“For me, buying small should be a way of life, not just something to do one day of the year.”

Getting involved

If you’re looking to get involved with Small Business Saturday, here are some easy ways to ensure you take full advantage of the day:

  • Download the digital pack from the SBS website – including the free social media guide – for some top marketing tips. You can also host the official logo and banners on your site and social networks to show your support.
  • Use the #SmallBizSatUK hashtag on your company’s Twitter and share pictures of your business with its Small Business Saturday posters displayed.
  • Find out if your local council has anything in the pipeline to promote SBS, and then get in touch to see if there’s anything you can do to help support the campaign in your local community.
  • Host an event on 6 December - or the day before, if your business isn’t open on a Saturday - to champion SBS. Encourage promotion and PR for your business by getting in touch with the local press or your MP, and invite them to attend your event.
  • Coordinate with other small, local businesses to advocate the campaign and spread the word. It’s all about challenging the dominance of the major chains that tend to clean-up over Christmas, so the key is to create a buzz around SMEs that enables all small businesses to benefit.

Remember, you don’t have to be a small business to show your support for SBS. Visit the Small Business Saturday website to see how you can get involved as a customer.