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Small Business Saturday - what is it and why is it so important?

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by Startacus Admin

Small Business Saturday UK
With small businesses accounting for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2016 it’s easy to see why they are the backbone to the UK economy, driving growth, innovation and jobs. Yet, recent statistics show that almost 40,000 companies have failed to pass their first year of trading since 2007, and after five years just four in ten small businesses are expected to survive.


It’s paramount, therefore, that we celebrate this community, which is where Small Business Saturday UK comes in - a grassroots, non-commercial campaign which highlights independent success and encourages customers to ‘shop local’.

During the 36 hours that followed the day in 2016, which takes place on December 2 this year, an estimated £717 million was spent with small Small Business Saturday UKbusinesses across the UK. The Small Business Saturday UK hashtag was also trending, showing the power of social media and what can be achieved when everyone comes together to support a cause.

We’ve spoken to companies across the country to see why they think the day is so important and what Small Business Saturday means to them.

Gareth Morris, owner of Chocolatiers Café

“As a small, independent business, in a rural community, we understand the importance of connecting with local customers. For us, #SmallBusinessSaturday marks the beginning of our busiest time of year, after all everyone loves chocolate at Christmas time. We usually run an offer on social media in the lead up to the day as well as on the day itself. In an era where some high street shops stand empty, it’s important than ever for small businesses to shout about their success. Our biggest tips? Get on social media, use the hashtag and embrace everything that’s great about being a small and unique business. Take time to get to know other small businesses on your high street, work together, promote each other and cross sell where you can. Collaborate don’t compete.” 


Patrick Tonks, managing director of Great Bean Bags 

“Small businesses are great because they create choice. With larger companies, product ranges tend to become homogenised as they are driven by intense market research. With smaller companies creativity, adaptability and ingenuity are king! We love Small Business Saturday - any opportunity to get people focused on the fantastic range of small businesses right on their doorstep is a tick in our book. We try and source as much of our fabric and trim locally as possible. We find we get fantastic service when we know personally who we are buying from and this helps assure quality. Fortunately, Nottingham has a rich history in the textiles industry and there are many independent companies that we have been working with for years. In fact, our zipping and button supplier is a family business that has been running for over 100 years and is only a mile down the road.”

Lisa Forde, director of Dotty About Paper

“Getting your name out there can be challenging for smaller companies, so dedicating a day to increasing their visibility to the public is invaluable. The team here at Dotty about Paper know the value of this special day. It gives us a chance to thank our loyal customers for their support, while the buzz Dotty About Papergenerated around the day gives our social media posts a post. Small Business Saturday is also the perfect time to promote discounts and offers, as people will be browsing for interesting small shops they might have missed in the past. This year, we’re launching our beautiful range of desk stationery for the office and home, and Small Business Saturday is an ideal day to reveal this new line of gorgeous products we’ve been busy designing here at the studio.”


Brenda Cresswell, founder of Bare Necessities

“Small Business Saturday provides a great opportunity for small businesses to celebrate not only their own success but the success of other small businesses in their community too - it really is a day when everyone is encouraged to come together! Where I’m based in Melbourne, Derbyshire, there are lots of other independents including gift shops, florists, hairdressers, butchers and a shoe cobbler and wherever possible I always make sure to shop locally - not just on Small Business Saturday but all year round, it’s a conscious decision I made a number of years ago now. It’s true that some companies can grow to become a faceless brand but step into a small business and you’ll be greeted with a friendly smile and treated as an individual.”      

Andy Baxter, managing director of Internet Gardener

“Small businesses not only make up such a large part of the UK economy, they also give back so much more to the local community. Small Business Saturday is an opportune event to showcase our family business and the service and value we can offer over the big national chains, remembering that value isn’t just about price. In our local area we always try to use the local independent shops and restaurants. When a Greggs opened near our offices two years ago I thought the local companies may suffer, however they innovated and changed their offering. This is why we prefer to shop with local food outlets and shops and not chains where possible.”


Laura Hampton, marketing manager at Impression 

“It’s important to support small businesses because of the contribution they make. SMEs, broadly speaking, tend to be less risk averse and more agile in their approach, so by supporting them we provide them the springboard they need to make a real difference. Small Business Saturday is a great event for small businesses to collaborate and learn from one another. We ran a workshop a couple of years ago on the day where we shared our advice on how SMEs can grow their online presence. We also had someone from Small Business Saturday film the whole event, so it was live streamed via Twitter for additional reach.”


 Kate Wilson, founder of Oubas Knitwear

“We need to support independents who have decided to go it alone and use a skill or a flair for something in a new business venture. Small Business Saturday is a great way of getting involved in the community. I’ve posted on social media and followed the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter in previous years, which has enabled us to connect with other businesses and also learn about the support which is out there. We’ll be promoting the day again this year and will share what Small Business Saturday means to us.”

 

Keira O’Mara, director of Mama Designs

“Small Business Saturday is important as it acts as a reminder to the public to support small businesses (whether locally or nationally). Supporting Mama Designssmall businesses not only boosts your local economy but it supports the economy as a whole and the difference to shopping small rather than from a big retailer can make a lot of difference to the business owners. The day gives us a chance to connect with our customers and remind them that there is a real person behind the businesses and not a big company! In the past we have run a giveaway, this year we will have a special offer. 


Lydia Amoah, founder of www.lydiaamoah.com

“A lot of small businesses really want to make a difference locally, or even globally, so it’s important we dedicate a day to shining the spotlight on these, and show them some love. They have so much to offer - far from being a faceless brand they are passionate about what they do and will spend time giving their customers the personal approach. Any additional promotional of these companies is invaluable and I’ve seen that first-hand during my time as a business coach. Last year a client of mine had her beauty business Etieno featured in The Guardian, she said the coverage made a real difference to her company and opened up new business opportunities too. This year I’ll be filming a video on the day to highlight the greatness of small businesses and will share it on my social media channels. To other businesses getting involved my biggest tip would be to use the hashtag, it’s great for visibility and there’s a good chance we can help get it trending again this year!”


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Published on: 24th November 2017

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