Small Business Saturday is a day of the year when consumers are encouraged to shop at small businesses in order to support local businesses and small business owners. Originally started by American Express, this day falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year (right in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday).

How can you as a business owner to prepare for Small Business Saturday? Keep reading for 10 Small Business Saturday preparation tips for 2021.

1. Prepare your staff

The most important part of Small Business Saturday preparation is preparing your staff.

Starting now, think about customer service best practices that you want your staff to follow and plan a day (or days) that you will train your employees.

Next, if you feel that you will be short-staffed, start thinking of a plan now for hiring temporary and/or seasonal employees.  

As Small Business Saturday approaches, it may help to think of incentives for your staff. Do you have day-of sales quotas you’d like them to reach? If they reach your goals can they get a fun incentive? You can also think of team incentives if you don’t want to encourage your employees to compete with each other.

Dealing with a lot of people on one day can be stressful. To try to keep your employees happy so they offer great customer service to your customers, consider doing things on Small Business Saturday to keep their energy up and their spirits lifted. For example, you can buy lunch for everyone that works on Small Business Saturday and/or you can give them more rest breaks than normal so they have time to recharge.

Plan for safety around COVID. This year’s holiday season is going to be unique. Make sure your staff is prepared to protect themselves and your customers with updated cleaning methods and proper PPEs so everyone has a positive and safe shopping experience. Be sure to check CDC guidelines for latest procedures and enforce social distancing practices if your store has a physical location.

2. Prepare your store

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Preparing your physical and digital space is a great way to make a first impression and get new clients to return after Small Business Saturday.

Start by preparing your physical store. If there is maintenance or cleaning that needs to be done, take this as an opportunity to get that done before it gets too busy. You may also want to consider rearranging your store to accommodate more people and to help sell your most popular and/or most profitable items.

Make sure you make it easy for customers to buy from you. Nowadays most people use credit cards. Make sure your business is prepared to accept all forms of payment. Remember, PaySimple can help with this.

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Prepare a safe space and add proper signage. Depending on your state’s guidelines as well as your personal preference, consider adding signage to remind people to social distance and wear masks at all times while in your store.

You’ll also want to prepare your website. This is a good practice to do at least once a year if not once a quarter. Go through your website, page by page, and look for information that has changed. Is the phone number correct? Are you hours still the same as the hours listed? Are there any broken links? You can also take this time to assess the keywords you are using and strategically add new ones that you want to be found for.

3. Understand your unique selling proposition

If you don’t already know what your USP or unique selling proposition is, now is a great time to think about it. Basically, your USP is that thing you do well that your customers want that your competition can’t (or doesn’t) offer. Once you have a clear understanding of this, you can use it in the following steps.

4. Plan a promotion

Now is a great time to plan what kind of promotion you will do for Small Business Saturday. Start by taking time to brainstorm different ideas. Do you want to go with a simple model like offering a percentage off? Or would you rather offer some kind of freebie with a certain dollar amount purchased. The sky is the limit so give yourself time to think creatively on what kind of special offers you can offer your customers on Small Business Saturday. Keep in mind that you want to keep it simple so it’s easy for your customers to understand and take advantage of. Also, don’t underestimate the power of loss leaders, or items that you take a small loss on but that get customers in your store and that much closer to purchasing additional items from you with a higher profit margin.

5. Partner with other businesses

Don’t be afraid to partner with other businesses that compliment yours. Consider partnering with other businesses to share in the cost of the marketing materials. For example, you can get creative and have customers get a reward for completing a scavenger hunt where they have to go to multiple stores that you’ve partnered with.

6. Create a Small Business Saturday marketing strategy

Once you know what your special promotion is going to be, and you’ve thought about potential marketing partners, next, think about what your marketing budget will be to get news of the promotion in front of your ideal customers. Once you know what your budget is, brainstorm the various marketing strategies you can use to spread the word.

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7. Create marketing materials

Once you know what marketing strategies and tactics you’re going to use for Small Business Saturday, it’s time to prepare the materials. If you’re going to get any flyers or mailers printed, make sure you plan in advance to give you printer plenty of time to deliver your order (remember, you’re not the only small business planning for a Small Business Saturday promotion).

8. Get social & create excitement

Even if you’re going with an organic and/or low cost marketing strategy you can use the time you have now to do things like create social media posts with free tools like You can create a social media calendar and plan when each of your posts will go up. You can also start now and create excitement around the announcement of what your Small Business Saturday promotion will be.

9. Create raving fans

On Small Business Saturday think about what you can do to create raving fans. Try to surprise and delight your customers by making the shopping experience memorable. Perhaps you can throw in or bonus item or a coupon for their next purchase. Alternatively, you could offer free snacks and have a DJ or special guests at your store.

10.  Leverage your Small Business Saturday success

Rather than thinking of Small Business Saturday as one day, think of it as the launch to the holiday shopping season and to creating relationships with new customers. Follow best practices like getting peoples’ contact information so you can follow up with them and send them special promotions throughout the year. Make the people who supporting your business on Small Business Saturday feel special by thanking them. Check out this post for ideas on how to say thank you to your customers and really make them feel special.

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