Saturday 7th December - the busiest shopping day of the year - marks the UK's first Small Business Saturday (SBSUK). Even with a few days to go – it isn’t too late for small business sellers to get involved.
Originally started by American Express in the US, Small Business Saturday focuses on encouraging the UK to support small businesses, on the 7th December and in the future. SME owners doubtful of its value should be aware that in America the event is recognised by the US Senate and led to an estimated consumer spend in 2012 of $5.5billion.
Business owners wanting to sell their business can utilise Small Business Saturday to attract interest.
How to participate
Business sellers should first head to the Small Business Saturday website, where they can download free marketing materials, including posters, logos and images which can be printed out, or added to your company website.
SME sellers whose businesses have a social media presence should follow the SBSUK Facebook, Google Plus and twitter accounts. These accounts have attracted thousands of members who are supporting SBSUK. Owners can use these spaces to network with other business owners – who could turn out to be future business buyers – and should tag any updates about SBSUK with the hashtag #SmallBizSat.
This event is countrywide which means that buyers (and customers) based in different parts of the UK or even in other countries will be drawn to any business proposition supporting Small Business Saturday.
And if the business is listed for sale on Businessesforsale.com – sellers can promote this link before, on and after Small Business Saturday.
Use SBSUK to attract buyers
To really take advantage of the event, owners should ensure that their business is in ship-shape and then do something unique for customers and buyers on 7th December.
Consider opening the doors and provide a free demonstration of what the company does, or provide a discount on the services provided for walk-ins, this could really make a difference. The managers of the SBSUK social accounts are happy to retweet anything businesses are doing to support SBS13 so sellers should take pictures of their business and send them their way.
Just being available to talk to buyers and customers on Small Business Saturday marks the business owner as collaborative, supportive and friendly – all helpful qualities when negotiating with buyers.
Remember that the primary goal of Small Business Saturday is to promote the use of small business, not to sell businesses, so be careful not come come across as obnoxious or forceful. Raising awareness
What to do on the day
Serious business sellers will already be carrying out the due diligence on their business in order to make it as attractive as possible and sell for the most profit. Things that could be done for SBSUK include:
- Making sure that any premises sold as part of the business look their best
- Obtaining a fair valuation of the business so that the seller knows what it is worth
- Have notes ready of the main selling points of the business, such as good customer and supplier relationships, staff notes, best-selling products and any leases or contracts the business has
- Emailing or calling potential buyers to invite them along to the business to ask questions
- If necessary and possible, asking staff to work on the Saturday (and paying them if this is unusual!)
Once the day arrives potential buyers (and if possible, customers) will come along to the business on to discuss their needs, ask questions of the business and talk to the owner. It could have the feel of an open-house event. If more customers come along interested in the company’s services and products – all the better. This will earn the business additional money and show buyers that it is a healthy going concern, ensuring that they are confident in what the business involves and its worth.
However, this approach is somewhat dependent on the business having some sort of physical presence in order to showcase its wares. Not every small business can do this, but sellers with a website should use the internet as their sales tool and meeting point. Online sellers could post a discount code on their site or taking part in a Google Hangout which allows them to video chat with buyers.
Small Business Saturday is designed to showcase small businesses on 7th December and beyond. However they take part, sellers who use this event to its full capacity are not likely to regret it.
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