National Small Business Week is here – are you ready? Cities across the country are highlighting local business owners so it's important that you stand out. Today's generation of shoppers, especially millennials, enjoy authentic interaction with smaller companies. Use one or more of our top tips to make Small Business Week a success for your company, even in the wake of a pandemic.
Show Your Local Pride
While Small Business Week kicks off in the nation's capital, that doesn't mean it stays there. Opt for a window display that tells the story of your community or create a promotion featuring a locally-sourced product. Small businesses are the lifeblood of a thriving local economy and create unique communities of business people supporting one another.
Partner with some other local businesses, simultaneously promoting each other and introducing your clients to other local businesses they may not be aware of. Many communities have a "Shop Local" program, often facilitated through the city's Chamber of Commerce. If you aren't part of this group, reach out to your local chamber for more details.
Host a Small Business After-Hours Event
Sponsor a small business networking event (virtual or otherwise) this week, celebrating your entrepreneurial friends and neighbors. These events may sometimes be part of your community's calendar of events, but during Small Business Week, it's important to celebrate local shops, restaurants, and service providers. Create a buzz about the networking event on social media and invite your local news channels and papers to cover the event.
Networking events are a great way for small business owners to help support each other. The more you're able to buy locally, the more you boost the local economy. You may also be able to recommend clients back and forth, using trusted referrals to help your customers meet other great local businesses.
Praise Your Team
Your hardworking employees are ambassadors for your business, telling your story and sharing your passion. Choose to feature your team on your social media channels, thanking them for their hard work and their role in Small Business Week. Your employees each have a special contribution to the success of your small business. Consider featuring one thing that each staff member does best, such as "Top Salesperson" or "Widget Expert" with a nice photo of each.
Celebrate Small Business Week with a special treat for your staff. Close early to take your team to a ball game, have a nice meal, or even a spa day. If you aren't able to splurge on a company party, then maybe gift each employee some extra paid time off to enjoy their own passions and pursuits.
Part of giving your customers an authentic experience is seeing you celebrate your team, inviting your clients to get to know each team member better. By showcasing your employees and praising them in public, you're demonstrating hands-on, involved leadership that helps grow your business and improve your company culture.
Spread the Word on Social Media
National Small Business Week has its own hashtags, including #DreamSmallBiz and #SmallBusinessWeek. These are used nationwide and can help direct customers to your brand's website or social media accounts. Use your social media accounts to invite your customers to visit your business and help you celebrate Small Business Week.
Consider running a giveaway or promotion that incorporates shopping local. Enter every customer that @ or tags you in their social media posts into a giveaway for a product, complimentary service, or discount. Keep the energy going all week long by getting creative and a little personal. Post pictures of how you started your business, tell the story behind your passion for your products and have small videos showing the behind-the-scenes of your business.
Celebrate Your Customers
Take time this week to acknowledge the support that's helped your business become successful with a week of branded promotions. Use your email list to send out limited-access deals or have a week-long National Small Business Week sale.
Make sure to put your logo and that of National Small Business Week on the promotional flyers or emails that you send out, to get traction from the national marketing campaign. Your extended "thank you" promotion also helps increase customer loyalty and invites your clients to partner in your success. Remember, authenticity and transparency are what your customers desire.
National Small Business Week is your week to shine. A week-long focus on locally owned small businesses means that you have the chance to tell your story on a national platform and offers you the opportunity to include your team and your customers in the celebration. With creativity and enthusiasm, you can leverage the exposure of Small Business Week into a greater awareness of your brand.