Friday, 21 November 2014

Small Business Saturday - 6th December

Last year, there was a big push to help local businesses:
Futures Forum: 'Celebrate an Independent Christmas'

And in a week's time, it's all happening:
Small Business Saturday UK

With a nice piece from the Telegraph earlier this month:

Why everyone should be backing Small Business Saturday

Just a month to go until Small Business Saturday and UK small firms are gearing up for a mega sales push as celebrities such as model Daisy Lowe throw their support behind the day

Two Fingers Brewing Company, an independent craft beer firm, is hoping to use Small Business Saturday to boost sales of its maiden brew Aurelio 
Businesses across the UK are gearing up for the second annual Small Business Saturday, taking place on December 6. The day-long event, which is supported by all political parties, was launched to shine a spotlight on the nation’s 4.9m small and medium-sized companies and encourage consumers to switch their shop from a chain to an independent business.
Small Business Saturday (SBS) originated in the States, where it is in its fifth year. In 2013, consumers in the US spent $5.7bn (£3.6bn) with independent merchants on the day. Last year in the UK, small companies earned £460m, and the organisers hope to raise that figure significantly this year.
SBS has attracted the support of business groups including the Federation of Small Businesses, the Association of Town and City Management, Association of Convenience Stores, and the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association. To raise further awareness of the event, a Small Business Saturday bus tour of the UK will start in Leeds on November 17, stopping at 12 locations.
While 40pc of local authorities backed the first campaign, Michelle Ovens, who runs SBS in the UK, predicts that almost 100pc will be involved this December. Amersham town council, for example, is helping local small businesses through a day-long Christmas showcase in Amersham-on-the Hill. To add some celebrity sparkle, Peter Blake, the artist who created the sleeve design for The Beatles album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, has been drafted in to create a piece of celebratory art featuring UK small businesses.
Daisy Lowe, the model, will lend her support to the campaign by appearing at a yet unnamed an independent shop on Small Business Saturday, while the award-winning filmmaker, Heidi Greensmith, recorded footage of three independent shops to create the short film Saturday.
Small companies across the country are encouraged to take advantage of the day, using free posters, marketing materials and offers and discounts to coincide with the day. To help promote the event, the SBS team has been profiling 100 small businesses in the 100 days running up to December 6. This newspaper caught up with three of the 100 businesses to find out their plans.
Nicola Mason, a start-up entrepreneur, launched her online jewellery and accessories business Hey Sailor a year and a half ago. A jewellery designer by trade, she wanted to create a platform to sell her wares, and also sells vintage pieces and designs from other artists.
On December 6, Mason will join several other small businesses to launch a pop-up shop in the centre of Glasgow. “Usually I’m sitting at home behind the computer so this will be a great opportunity to meet prospective customers and hear what they think of the products,” she says.
“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.”
Digital businesses are best-placed to take advantage of the SBS effect, she claims. “Even if people don’t buy on the day, they can come back to our web shop later and buy. And we can also use Small Business Saturday on social media to reach customers who are hundreds of miles away from Glasgow.”
Katie Ellis, the boss of the UK’s oldest saw manufacturer, Thomas Flinn, is keen to use SBS to educate consumers about the need to support local businesses. “People don’t always think about where they spend their money,” she says. “They can make a huge difference to a small business, rather than buying something that’s rolled off a production line in China.”
Thomas Flinn, which was founded in 1923, sells handmade saws and planes to woodworkers and cabinet makers across the world. The company also has a popular line of musical saws. “Those are our best-selling items on the internet,” says Ellis. “We can sell 200 in a month.”
“For me, buying small should be a way of life, not just something to do one day of the year,” she adds. “There’s a long way to go yet.”
Two Fingers Brewing Company, an independent craft beer firm, is hoping to use SBS to boost sales of its maiden brew Aurelio. The company only launched in January this year, but the golden ale is already stocked across the UK in 200 Tesco and 400 Morrisons stores, as well as through online grocer Ocado. As part of SBS, Jamie Oliver, the chef, has agreed to stock the beer in his Jamie’s Italian restaurants.
Two Fingers donates all of its profits to help fight prostate cancer, so resources are limited. “Small Business Saturday helps to level the playing field,” says co-founder Matt Sadley. “There’s so much competition from bigger companies and more established products.”
Social media will be crucial for small companies trying to make the most of the event, he claims. SBS attracted more than 1.5m Facebook views and #SmallBizSatUK was among the top three terms trending on Twitter on the day last year. “We’ve already received lots of new followers and tweets as a result of being in the Small Business Saturday 100,” says Sadler.
To help capitalise on the day, Sadler is offering a discount to wholesale customers on his beer.
“But it’s not all about discounts,” he adds. “We’re also throwing a party on the day to thank our suppliers and customers for supporting us.”
Lord Young, small business adviser to the Prime Minister and an ambassador for SBS, has urged every small business in the UK to use the event to their advantage: “Big is no longer beautiful,” he says. “People want more individuality. Join in. Become part of it.”
11 ways to get the best out of Small Business Saturday
1. Put posters and stickers up in your windows; download the digital pack from the website and use the logo and banners on your website and social networks.
2. Share your pictures of your business decked out in Small Business Saturday posters on Twitter with the #SmallBizSatUk tag and tag your local region.
3. Download the Small Business Saturday free social media guide from the website for tips on how to make the most of social media and Small Business Saturday.
4. Speak to your local authority and encourage them to support the campaign in your local community – find out if they have anything planned yet that you can get involved in.
5. Speak to other small businesses in your community and networks and encourage them to get involved.
6. Host an event on December 6 (or the week preceding that Saturday if you don’t operate on a Saturday).
7. Encourage consumers through the door/online by offering promotions, cups of tea, mince pies, bands/music, anything that demonstrates that this is a day to celebrate and get involved in.
8. Write to your local councillor and MP and encourage them to pop down to see your event.
9. Contact your local press and make them aware of how you are making the most of Small Business Saturday. Use the campaign as a great PR opportunity for your business!
10. Look at where you can support other small businesses, e.g. in your supply chain.
11. Tell your friends, neighbours, schools – everyone you know – that Small Business Saturday is happening, that you are supporting it and they should too. Spread the word on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #SmallBizSatUK

Why everyone should be backing Small Business Saturday - Telegraph

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