Ideally small businesses will get support all through the year. Realistically, they are highlighted but once a year on Small Business Saturday. American Express created this day and it is nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday during the busiest shopping season of all.
Why do you want to promote Small Business Saturday? Small businesses and their owners provide much of the economy growth and employment in the United States. The Small Business Adminstration provides a great summary based on numbers reported as of March 2014. The most revealing statistic being that small businesses accounted for 63% of the new job growth from 1993-2013. When you shop small and even local you create jobs for those in your community.
The process to promote your business and be featured on the Shop Small American Express Website has become super easy. If you are in business I recommend you participate in the free option for two reasons, the pre-populated marketing materials, like the photo on this post and the map location which will help raise your visibility. Anytime you can get your business name on the web you are enhancing your search engine optimization (SEO) and Google rank. There are additional options for participation and promotion if you decide to invest money into this campaign. We are a week away from the 2014 Small Business Saturday so the free promotion may be all that is needed for this year.
Now for some ways to support small businesses beyond the one day promotion.
Invite them to speak to your organization. This allows them the opportunity to expand their network of potential business partners, customers or clients. Plus you get the credit for adding value to your group or organization.
Refer them when you hear someone may need their product or service. If you are not sure exactly what to listen for ask them what are the buzz words so you can instantly connect them with the referral. Take a picture of their business card so you can text or email it immediately, you don't want to have to remember to do it later, right?
Ask the small business owner throughout the year who they are looking to connect with and search through your networks to see if you have a connect direct or possibly once removed.
Buy their products or services throughout the year.
Share their social media updates.
Read their articles or blog posts and leave comments.
Attend events they host and bring a guest to add more people to their network.
Forward sales or coupon notifications to your networks.
Invite them to your network meetings as a guest.
Offer to be an accountability partner so they can keep things moving in their business as well as have someone to bounce ideas off of and reduce the lonely feeling that many small business owners encounter.
Hopefully you have a better understanding of how you can boost the prominence of small business and keep them as the important part of the community and economy as a whole. Are you a small business owner, can you share some of the help you recieve from your network in the comments below?
As The Small Business Whisperer I help business owners who struggle growing their income, reach and visibility to make more money, save time and run their business with less effort. I work with them to create these strategies from an internal stand point and often include the items noted above when reaching out with their strategic partners. If you would like to get aquainted please use my online scheduling tool so we can see where you are ready to grow your business.