University of Georgia helps prepare state for Small Business Saturday

Published 4:25 pm Friday, November 24, 2017

In only its seventh year, Small Business Saturday has become a popular-and powerful-tradition of the Thanksgiving weekend.

Launched by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2010, Small Business Saturday generated an estimated 112 million shoppers and $15.4 million in sales in 2016.

As this year’s Small Business Saturday approaches on Nov. 25, the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center-one of the nation’s top providers of small business assistance-is encouraging business owners to take advantage of the opportunity.

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“The holiday season is an important time for small firms, particularly retail firms,” said Allan Adams, SBDC’s state director. “It’s where firms often make their profit for the year, so strong holiday sales are important to helping that firm’s yearlong viability.”

Georgia has more than 980,000 small businesses, which employ 44 percent of the state’s private-sector workforce.

“Many small business owners are active in their community in a way large companies are not,” Adams said. “They sponsor ball teams, they sponsor Scout troops and they are involved in the local civic clubs. Those business owners are a part of the community, and the money they bring in tends to stay circulating in the community rather than the profit going up the East Coast or out to the West Coast or even overseas.”

Each day in November, SBDC is issuing a tip encouraging business owners to make the most of Small Business Saturday. Tips are provided by SBDC consultants and clients. Here are 10 highlights from the list:

1. Don’t stop thinking outside the box.

2. Don’t get married to your inventory. Take markdowns on slow moving inventory and turn it into cash.

3. Make returns easy to process.

4. Special offers and frequent social media engagement posts work. Plan early.

5. Expand your day-open early-stay late.

6. Prepare by watching trends, listening to your customers and offering something special.

7. “Build the Buzz” through your marketing channels.

8. Believe in the value of your product or service.

9. Schedule a special that will draw guests back to your place in January.

10. Developing a story or theme can lead to creating a powerful store image.

UGA’s Small Business Development Center provides tools, training and resources to help small businesses grow and succeed. Designated as one of Georgia’s top providers of small business assistance, the SBDC has 17 offices ranging from Rome to Valdosta to serve the needs of Georgia’s business community. Since 1977, the SBDC network of partners has helped construct a statewide ecosystem to foster the spirit, support and success of hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators.

The Small Business Development Center, a Public Service and Outreach Extension of the University of Georgia, is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs.