Now entering its 5th year in the UK, Small Business Saturday draws everyone’s attention to their local businesses in a bid to support families, friends and local economies. Small businesses account for £1.8 trillion massing around 47% of all private sector turnover in 2016, and this is set to increase year on year. This day focuses on helping businesses stay successful in this huge competitive environment.
In 2016, the Small Business Saturday weekend was estimated to have encouraged spending at a figure of £717 million. When shoppers know they are impacting people and local businesses rather than corporate margins, they are more inclined to spend and they are expected to do so once again on December 2.
Here some businesses across the UK talk about what they think of Small Business Saturday and why this type of support is so important to them.
“Small businesses are integral to the local community that surrounds them and Small Business Saturday is a celebration of this. It reminds everyone to focus on their neighbours and their local businesses, it’s a celebration of the smaller companies and the people who run them, especially in markets increasingly moving completely online. Although we are an ecommerce store, we encourage people to visit our showroom to see the local business and people behind the website. It is also important for other small businesses to support other local organisations in any way they can. This local network of small businesses is what keeps everything running smoothly, and this Saturday is a loud reminder.”
Andy Baxter, managing director of Internet Gardener
“Small Business Saturday is a time of celebration for personal achievements but also that of appreciating what is around you in your local community. Where I’m based in Melbourne, Derbyshire, the independent business scene is flourishing! I think whilst Small Business Saturday is crucial to awareness it needs to be a time of helping out other businesses in a similar position. When someone walks through the door, being greeted with a friendly smile and treated as an individual is what makes SMEs stand out from larger faceless brands. Take this day to network and get to know your local customers and fellow retailers!”
Brenda Cresswell, founder of Bare Necessities
“While we were once a nation of shopkeepers, many of today’s SMEs are primarily self-employed workers and there are more than 4.5 million of them. For these people, freelancing is their main stream of income. It can be a hectic lifestyle though, and there’s a lot of stress involved, so Small Business Saturday is a great way for their work to be celebrated and for consumers to be reminded that independent local businesses need their backing.
We urge all small businesses to get involved in Small Business Saturday in some way. For example, posting on social media about any offers you may have or writing a blog sharing your experiences. For this year’s Small Business Saturday we are even offering a 50% discount for annual subscriptions, use ‘SBS2017’ when signing up!”
Peter Ibbetson, founder of Journolink
“As a small business ourselves, we know first hand the impact SMEs have, both on the economy more broadly, but also on the community in which they’re based. When you work in a city with a high rate of new business growth, you feel a buzz that you don’t get in more established business areas. There’s excitement, people taking risks, people passionate about doing things differently. Small Business Saturday encourages people to be aware of all the things happening in their local community and beyond. As a small business, you’ll find lots of events that are designed to support your growth – make the most of those! We therefore work with a number of local organisations and authorities to provide that support; for example, we work with the local universities via their small business support programmes to deliver workshops, and with the local Council for the same purpose.”
Laura Hampton, marketing manager of Impression
“Small businesses bring colour, innovation and character to society. A good example of areas devoid of small businesses are international airports – they all look exactly the same, offering the same goods from the same large retailers in the same way. How much more interesting would be it be for small business owners to bring their fabulous artisanal goods, presented in unique ways which shows off their country, culture and people.”
Yolanda Drewell, founder at Buzzcloth
“Official statistics show that the rate of business deaths has continued to increase over the last few years, and it’s well-known that just four in ten small businesses are expected to survive the five year mark. Small Business Saturday acts an important reminder to consumers to consider changing their shopping habits and support their local independents, not just because of they offer a more personal service or better quality goods (generally speaking) but because it’s vital to their survival, and to the state of the local economy. For every £1 spent with an SME, 63p will be re-spent in the local area, compared to 40p in every £1 spent with a larger business. And for customers small businesses equals choice – imagine a world where there are only a few key players in every sector?”
Sylvia Schwartz, manager of Company Address
“Small Business Saturday is really important as SMEs are critical to the future growth of the country. Without the support we had from our local community, we wouldn’t have managed to get our home-baking business off the ground. In addition, as we are predominately an online business, we are competing with the likes of Amazon. Therefore we try to make people aware that we are a husband and wife run company, which means they are buying from people who care and who want to provide an excellent service. In terms of preparation for this year’s event, we find that getting out and meeting people is fundamental to raising awareness of our brand. We have also been invited by one of our local retail stockists to offer a tasting session.”
Katie Hauser, founder of If I Knew You Were Coming
“This initiative embodies what we are about. We are a small, family business run by local people who have a passion for the area. Our main consumers are those that live right on our doorstep and without them we couldn’t survive in a market which, especially in our area, is pretty saturated. We currently hold events locally such as food festivals, bespoke alcohol tastings and live music nights. All of our suppliers are local, we encourage local artists to come and put their pieces on the wall and we advertise for other businesses across all of our platforms. You never know who’s around the corner and from experience we’ve found that there are some pretty talented people waiting for the right platform to have their products seen.”
Leah Coates, venue and events manager of Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery
“As a small business ourselves, we totally support Small Business Saturday. We’re based in a rural area and it’s especially important to champion these business as they provide employment and help support the local economy.Both personally and as a business, we try to shop locally as often as we can to try and help fellow small businesses like they help us.
We also buy timber from local timber yards when we need native breeds. The best way to prepare for Small Business Saturday is to maximise your marketing efforts locally and through your online channels, such as social media, to make people aware of who you are and what you do. You could even invite people to come along and have a look around your premises to show them how you manufacture your products – let them get to know you and show you support the local economy.”
Anthony Lund, co-owner of Lund and Law