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How to get involved in Small Business Saturday

POSTED: 19th November 2014
IN: Guides
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On December 6th 2014, small companies all over the UK will take part in an event that is designed to support grassroots enterprises, start-ups and local firms.

The event will champion small firms on December 6th.

Small Business Saturday provides a big opportunity for these organisations to boost their profile and improve their profit margin, and for consumers to make a contribution to local commerce.

Read on to find out more about this American Express-founded event and how to get involved.

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What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010. It is described as a "grassroots, non-political, non-commercial campaign".

Held on the first shopping Saturday in December in the UK, it highlights examples of smaller companies that have enjoyed success and encourages people to support businesses in their communities by shopping locally.

The event was conceived in the US, where it is having its fifth outing this year. Its call for shoppers to take their custom from large chains to independent outlets has received backing from some high-profile figures, including actress Jessica Alba and tennis star Serena Williams.

Last year, President Obama showed his support for Small Business Saturday by shopping at a local book store in Washington DC.

The campaign got off to a successful start in the UK last year, with nearly half (48 per cent) of consumers aware of it and 40 per cent of all local authorities getting behind it. Over £460 million was spent in small businesses over the course of the day.

Social media is a key part of the event, with more than 1.5 million Facebook views recorded last year and the Twitter tag #SmallBizSatUK trending in the top three all day.

In 2014, Small Business Saturday will once again be using its social media channels to showcase and promote 100 small firms in the lead-up to the day itself. The Small Biz 100 initiative, which has been running since late August, is championing a diverse range of enterprises, from IT firms and promotions agencies to cafes and cupcake retailers.

This part of the event was a big success last year, with the participants enjoying a boost in exposure online and in the local press, and also getting to attend a Downing Street reception with George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Another highlight of Small Business Saturday 2014 is the Inspire Series, a programme of talks and workshops by entrepreneurs and prominent figures from the business community. The likes of Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, and Sir Peter Bonfield, chair of the Small Business Charter, have been speaking at venues such as University College London and Somerset House.

How to get involved

Companies of every kind are encouraged to get involved in Small Business Saturday - including family enterprises, local shops, online operations, wholesalers and manufacturers - and there are various ways to do so.

Firstly, you can visit the event's official website and download a digital pack containing various features, including a presentation that can be embedded on your own website.

You can also sign up to receive a marketing pack with promotional posters and other materials, and share your own plans for the day to get a shout-out on Facebook and Twitter.

Show your support for Small Business Saturday by following the campaign on Twitter @SmallBizSatUK, 'liking' it on Facebook and tagging any related tweets of your own with #SmallBizSatUK.

Another highlight of the event is a bus tour around the UK, which will be returning this year with a bigger bus and an extended itinerary. People and businesses based near one of the tour stops are invited to get in touch, or just turn up on the day to meet other local supporters of the campaign.

The tour will begin in the north of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, visiting destinations including Leeds (November 17th), the Grassmarket in Edinburgh (November 19th), Manchester (November 21st) and Chesterfield (November 24th).

It will then move south, stopping off at the Assembly and Whitchurch in Cardiff (November 28th), the Centre Promenade in Bristol (December 1st) and Frankfort Gate in Plymouth (December 2nd). The tour will come to an end in London, visiting a to-be-confirmed destination in Lambeth on December 3rd and Queens Crescent Market in Camden on the following day.

For companies willing and able to take part, Small Business Saturday is an unmissable opportunity to secure some extra custom and exposure, both on the day and in the future.

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