After the big retailers have taken the spotlight on Black Friday, it’s time for small businesses to shine.
American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 as an event to encourage people to shop locally and support small businesses. Since then, it has become a smashing success and consumers spent $16.2 billion on Small Business Saturday in 2015, according to the New York Business Journal. To ensure businesses are prepared for this lucrative shopping day, they should consider taking out a small business loan from an alternative lender. This will guarantee that businesses can advertise their sales and promotions, stock their shelves and staff their stores.
Have all hands on deck
It’s never good to be understaffed, but it’s particularly bad during a shopping frenzy. Business owners expecting large crowds should bring on an extra employee or two – or more depending on the size of the business – to maintain the same level of customer service consumers expect when they come in on a regular day. A surge of people in the store means more questions, purchases and tasks to accomplish , and shoppers who have to wait around to be helped might complain to others about your business. Bad word of mouth is the last thing a small business needs on a day that’s supposed to see higher sales volumes.
Shoppers who are tired of impersonal corporations flock to local stores, which means entrepreneurs must deliver an impeccable in-store experience, according to Columbus Business First. Having enough staff to field questions, restock shelves, work the cash register and perform other miscellaneous duties is a critical part to crafting memorable customer service.
“I think more people want to make the holiday about something more than just driving to the mall, going to the department stores and fighting the crowds, and Small Business Saturday is a reflection of that,” Rhonda Abrams, president and chief entrepreneur of Planning Shop, told the New York Business Journal.
For those who are worried about the costs incurred by having extra staff working, small business financing from an alternative lending source is a simple, easy-to-use solution that will give business owners the cash they need to succeed on Small Business Saturday and boost revenue. Alternative lenders provide a more streamlined solution than traditional banks with quicker turnaround times so entrepreneurs can still make any last-minute preparations without worrying about their cash flow.
Crank up the advertising
To stand out in the sea of retailers, business owners should come up with several creative sales and promotional offers they can advertise to customers. Buy-one-get-one-free offers, designating certain products as discounted items or providing a service such as free gift wrapping are some examples of how retailers can entice shoppers to make a purchase at their stores, Richland Source reported. But deals are no good if consumers aren’t aware of them.
In addition to taking advantage of the free Small Business Saturday tools and workshops American Express is offering to entrepreneurs, small business owners should invest in advertising materials such as print ads, digital ads and signage for the exterior of the store. They should also engage consumers through social media, and pay for sponsored posts that will show up more frequently in the feeds of the customers who are likely to shop at a local business.
To ensure that this blitz of advertising doesn’t adversely affect a company’s cash flow, businesses should seek out an alternative business loan to fund their marketing strategies. Unlike traditional banks that typically require a rigorously high credit score to get approved for a loan, alternative lenders can usually approve applicants for a loan who might get rejected by a bank due to their credit score.
Keep an eye on your inventory
Businesses that expect a high customer turnout should order inventory accordingly. If an entrepreneur is putting certain products on sale, it might be smart to have more of that item in stock in case it sells out more quickly, but they should have more of any product they believe is going to sell well on Small Business Saturday. In addition to retail stores, Small Business Saturday can be a big day for restaurants throughout the country, so they should also consider having more ingredients on hand so certain menu items don’t sell out, according to Modern Restaurant Management magazine.
Managers worried about how spending money on extra inventory will affect the company’s bottom line should evaluate whether a small business loan will help the business capitalize on this major spending holiday. After all, it doesn’t matter how many customers a business can get through the doors if they don’t have any merchandise left to sell.
However an entrepreneur decides to manage their company’s finances, they should be aware of alternative lending’s benefits. It’s critical to weigh a business’s financial options well before Small Business Saturday arrives to maximize sales potential.