3 years ago, I was able to celebrate Small Business Saturday for the first time as a participant. Academic Mindset was new and super small, but we were ready to move forward. The lessons I learned from my first Small Business Saturday still stick with me today.
1) Be Bold
I was so afraid to bother anyone with my business goals or needs, especially on a holiday weekend. I was posting with no confidence and acting like an inconvenience whenever I tried to get people to help me. My posts looked like this:
Uhh I’m sorry to bother you with spam, but like… If you really feel like sharing this and only if you are comfortable with it… Will you share my webpage please? I don’t mind if you don’t, it’s totally cool. But if it won’t bother you, like here’s the link…
You can imagine that didn’t go well! This example may be an exaggeration, but really just barely.
It is important to be bold in the way you discuss your business. If you are going to ask for something (like shares of posts, products, etc.) then do it! Do not apologize for wanting to grow your business.
2) Be Specific
What are you offering and what should people do?
For my first Small Business Saturday, I confused everyone who wanted to help me. I would be like, can you share my work and bring people my way? Here was the general response:
Uhh… What work? What kind of people? For what purpose?
Even my mom was calling me in a panic, wanting to know which page of my website I wanted her to share. Whoops! I needed to be more specific.
If you are going to ask people to do something, they should know exactly what to do and why. This will allow them to decide whether to take the action or not, without having to guess what the action should be.
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Was that clear? I gave you specific details (I want you to enroll) and the link to get you exactly to where I want you to consider taking an action. I included a small description so you know immediately if it is worth looking at or not for you. Be specific and let your audience make informed decisions!
3) Be Helpful
How are you helping and serving your potential customers? Are you giving them any value? Are there free resources you can offer them?
One of my biggest mistakes in my first year of Small Business Saturday was that I had very little to offer outside of the paid products I created. Several people told me that they wanted to support me, but did not have the money available to do so.
I realized that I was there, asking people to help me while not being helpful myself. How could I expect to grow a customer base and loyal following like that?
Since then, I’ve always carried an array of free resources to give out. The value I willingly give without financial compensation becomes the reason that many decide to share my work or buy products from me.
Do not go through Small Business Saturday without serving others. Share other small businesses and hype them up the way you want to be hyped. Provide more value to your audience than you hope that they will give you. Be a leader in service.
Happy Small Business Saturday to all of you! Make sure to tag me in posts about your business or side hustle and I will be happy to share!