Small Business Saturday, due to take place on Saturday 2 December, will be the fifth year running for the campaign.
That’s good news for small and medium-sized enterprises up and down the UK, which need all the help they can get in the face of challenges ranging from extortionate business rates to disruptive online competition. Big business tends to get its pre-Christmas lift from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday bonanzas, but SMEs miss out on those. Small Business Saturday redresses the balance – last year’s event in the UK is estimated to have earned smaller businesses an additional £717m of sales, up 15 per cent on 2015.
Moreover, this is an initiative that supports a very broad church of SMEs. While the most obvious beneficiaries are high street independents forced to do battle with the big names or online competition, any SME can take part. Participants include tradesmen, professional services firms and business-to-business firms – both online and offline.
What’s really impressive about Small Business Saturday is that it remains very much a grass-roots endeavour. While the initiative has attracted some commercial sponsorship, most notably from American Express, and is run professionally, it’s far from corporate. Small businesses are expected to plan and organise their own promotional activity. This might range from offering discounts to customers on the day itself to hosting special events or campaigns.
As a useful start, logos, digital banners, a social media guide and toolkits are available to download from the website www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com – these can be displayed online or on premises. Businesses around the country can also upload information to the ‘My Small Business’ tab on the website on what special events or promotional offers they will be running for Small Business Saturday.