Small Business Saturday to provide much-needed boost to independent retail

As Britain’s high streets come back to life in time for Christmas, this year’s Small Business Saturday – an annual celebration that encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ – couldn’t be better timed.

In the run-up to the event (5th December), organisers have been matching SMEs with experienced business mentors and providing free virtual workshops and live-streamed advice, focused on key tools to handle the impact of the pandemic, such as embracing online, diversifying, managing cash-flow and improving mindset and mental health.

“Small businesses are facing a really hard winter, and many don’t have much to fall back on,” says Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday UK. “They need as much support as possible to power through, which is why we’ve teamed up with BT Skills for Tomorrow to offer virtual mentoring, workshops and advice to small businesses in the run up to Small Business Saturday.” 

She adds: “This year’s campaign is more vital than ever, and we’re encouraging all small businesses to join in and for the public to get behind them like never before.”

Now in its eighth year, Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, which takes place in the run-up to Christmas. Last year the day saw an estimated £800 million spent with small businesses across the UK.

The Dressing Room owner Deryane Tadd says she’s “thrilled to be featuring as part of the official Small Business Saturday campaign.” To Mark the reopening of non-essential stores following the national lockdown, American Express teamed up with artists Yukai Du and Timothy Hunt to create festive ‘We’re Open’ signs as part of its Shop Small campaign.

Small Business Saturday has also revealed five top tips for small business owners who might be struggling after national and localised lockdowns have kept many customers at home…

1.     Embrace new technology – Even if your business used to be completely face-to-face there are digital alternatives that could help you continue during lockdown. Spend some time learning new digital skills and adopting the right tools to help you reach customers through new channels.

2.     Keep in touch with your customers – update them on how your business is adapting and new things you are offering. If you have had to close or pause operations, make sure you stay in touch and stay relevant. 

3.     Protect your cashflow – review all your outgoings and focus on keeping costs as low and flexible as possible, with a limited number of big outgoings. Keep in touch with your suppliers to see how you might manage payments. 

4.     Continue to diversify – keep pivoting your business model to continue trading, as the world carries on changing. Don’t rely on one product or market, think about alternative services you could offer that has not been hit by Covid-19 or have thrived during lockdown. 

5.     Make the most of Small Business Saturday – taking place on December 5th, this nationwide campaign encourages people to celebrate and support small businesses and to shop local on the day itself, as well as the run-up and beyond. All small businesses can participate, by running promotions, getting listed on the Small Business Finder, and downloading marketing materials via its website.

IMAGE COURTESY OF @thedressingroomsocial ON INSTAGRAM