Small Business Week takes place annually on the first week of May. The weeklong celebration began in 1963 in the US. The event was established to honour the top entrepreneurs in every state with awards and recognition. After this inaugural week, it became an annual practice to encourage and promote SME’s.
According to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), there are 248,344 Small Medium & Enterprises (SME) active in Ireland.
We know that being a small business has many challenges, however there are many ways people can support these businesses and help them flourish, aside from making purchases.
Ways that you can support and celebrate SME’s as a customer:
1. Buy Vouchers and Gift Cards
By choosing gift cards and vouchers from local businesses as your gifts for colleagues and friends, you are investing in their longevity and supporting their business. Similarly, if you have a favourite shop or store, why not buy some vouchers for yourself, that you can use when you like.
2. Post about their business positively
Support your local store by writing reviews and tagging them in your social media.
Small businesses tend to have limited budgets for marketing and promotion. If you’ve bought something locally and love it, or maybe received some great customer service – why not make a post thanking them and tag them in it – to help spread the word. Unfortunately, negative posts about small businesses can also really have a detrimental effect on their business, so think twice about the impact of writing a negative post and instead try to resolve your issue directly with the owner.
3. Support and Shop local
You can celebrate small business owners in your area by making a conscious decision to shop local, similarly when shopping online – visit your local store’s online shop as a first point of contact to see if they have what you require or something similar. Visiting your local store also helps build community and gets you connected with store owners who can help source products you are looking for in the future. Similarly, challenge your friends to shop local by tagging them in the #Shoplocal challenge.
4. Nominate a small business for an award or recognition
There are lots of local business awards hosted, from business chambers to town awards and national events. You can nominate a business for an award directly, or where you see the business calling for your vote, get involved to support them. It costs nothing but a few moments of your time and could make a big difference to the business.
Equally , there are ways that you can support and celebrate Small Business Week as a business owner.
- Create dedicated promotions & offers
As the event takes place each year, with a small bit of planning, you can run an annual week of promotions and special offers to encourage your customers to visit and support you. Equally, by creating a special product or service that highlights the week, you can make a new way for customers to support your business during the week.
- Profile and partner with other small businesses for the week
By coming together to celebrate small business week in your community, you can be part of a bigger story by partnering with other similar or local businesses in your area to promote the week in your community.
- Encourage reviews and say Thank you for each purchase.
Customer experience is so important in encouraging return visits and business from your customers. Consider how you thank your customers for their purchase. Also consider their overall shopping experience and create ways to improve and personalise these to grow your return business.
Are you an SME and would like some support in developing your approach? We’d love to chat to you
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About the Author
Founded in 2022, Pennypop is an Irish Marketing agency specialising in Marketing and Communications. The business is based in Louth, Ireland and supports businesses across Ireland, UK and USA.