Millions of companies in the UK are classified as ‘small businesses’, accounting for around a third of the entire private sector’s turnover. But with international corporations and enterprises often stealing the headlines, do smaller companies get the recognition they deserve? Arguably not.
Imported to the UK in 2013 following its success in the US, this year’s Small Business Saturday took place on December 6th with the aim of giving smaller companies their time in the limelight.
What did small business owners think?
As the owner of several small businesses, Rachel Parkin, Creative Director at The Balagan Group, understands how important small businesses are to the British economy. She feels that anything that brings small businesses to the public eye is important:
“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, employing millions of people. Anything at all that highlights this and shines a spotlight on smaller companies is to be lauded and applauded! The very first step in supporting small businesses has to be creating awareness – there are millions of us and we don’t have the same tools at our disposal as the big companies. After that comes education; making sure consumers understand the importance of supporting small businesses.”
“Small Business Saturday makes it acceptable to discuss the issues facing small businesses without it being labelled as moaning – it’s a positive thing. Obviously it’s just a step in the right direction, but that’s how journey’s get completed, one step at a time!”
“Even though more independent businesses than ever embraced Black Friday this year, it’s easy for them to get lost among all the noise. The joy of Small Business Saturday is that it gives smaller retailers their own day in the limelight, and reminds shoppers just how many exciting businesses there are on their local high street.”
“I do a lot of work in Stockton-on-Tees (including running @stocktonshops on Twitter) and it was great to see the local authority and town team really celebrating Small Business Saturday, with local businesses working together to promote themselves and each other, both online and instore.”
“This year Small Business Saturday was definitely bigger than the year before. Ahead of the day we sent out an e-shot to our customers and also displayed the SBS stickers in our store – plus having one-off special offers on some of our products. The day was a great success and we definitely enjoyed a higher-than-average taking. Next year it would be good to see even more publicity in the local area for the event as a good number of people we spoke to hadn’t heard what was going on.”
Keep the momentum going
While Small Business Saturday does great work to raise awareness for the UK’s small businesses, the only danger is that people forgot one crucial fact – we should be supporting them all year long. With many of these companies working on a local basis, this can mean anything from shopping in independent local stores to just going to the pub down the road on a Friday evening. The important thing is that this support isn’t restricted to only one day a year. It needs to be constant.
In the run up to Small Business Saturday we produced a series of blogs on how businesses that mostly trade offline could reach and retain more customers online which you can read here. You can also download our handy free 10-page ‘Sage One Toolkit to Connecting with Local Customers Online‘.