By Princess Jones

Small Business Saturday is a national shopping event that encourages consumers everywhere to spend their money with local small businesses. It’s held the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a bookend to Black Friday. The event gets a good amount of national press and it’s a great way to draw in consumers that want to support what you do. If you work it right, you’ll see increase in sales for the day and an overall increase in awareness about your brand afterwards. But Small Business Saturday is just one day a year. With some effort, you can leverage your small business status to bring in business all year long.

Give Your Business a Face

I know we often think of bigger as better, but that’s not always true. One of the best reasons to shop with small businesses is that they are often more attentive and more knowledgeable about industries than the workers manning the counters at those big box competitors. For those who would prefer to spend money with small businesses, it’s important that you present yourself that way. You’ll draw in those customers that are actively seeking out small businesses to patronize and may not have realized that you were one.

Giving your business is a face can be as small as having a picture in your store of yourself with a phone number and invitation for customers to contact you if they have a problem. Or it can be a big as including the founders of a company in the marketing campaigns. If you’re looking for a place to start, try including your business’ origin story in some marketing materials. Remember that customers are buying your product, but they are also buying why you do it.

Make Your Presence Known in the Community

Being a member of your community is a benefit to your business. Your bottom line and your brand recognition can all be boosted by tapping into your community ties. But if you’re not an active member, you may not get to experience those perks. To fix that, make sure that you’re doing more than taking from the community; give back to it, too. Support local organizations through sponsorship, volunteering, or donation.

For example, you can collect perishable goods for a local food bank from your customers by offering a 10 percent discount to those who bring them in. You could sponsor local school teams or donate your services to nonprofits that service your community. Participating in in these types of events gets your brand in front of more eyeballs and reminds your customer base that you’re more than just a business. You’re a part of their community.

Small Businesses Stick Together

Small Business Saturday is held annually on a national level but there’s no reason that something like it couldn’t be held more often on a local level. Local business organizations often hold monthly or semi-monthly events that promote small business purchases. Depending on where your business fits in, you can look for something like a farmer’s market, a local fair, or a maybe a direct mailer that sends out advertisements for local small businesses.

Start by checking out your local Chamber of Commerce, which should probably know about any small business events in your area. Can’t find something in your area? Start one! Not only will it help you develop more ties to the community, you’ll benefit directly from results.