Small Business Saturday Blog
How to create an event for Small Business Saturday UK
Wednesday, October 23 at 22:33
So you’ve heard about Small Business Saturday UK, and you’ve caught the bug - there’s no better way to promote this amazing campaign, on a local level, than with an event.
First of all, you need a venue.
Many councils in the UK are supportive of Small Business Saturday UK, and some even include it in their manifesto. Luckily, Derby City Council is one of them. So, when Essential Print Services was one of the first #SmallBiz100 in 2013, the local council contacted me to be a panellist at one of their business growth events. Great!
At that time, the campaign was only just getting started, and I was determined to ensure that more people knew about Small Business Saturday UK for the following year. I kept in touch with the council officials to find out what their plans were for Small Business Saturday UK the next year. From that conversation, we agreed that I would co-host a free event with Derby City Council, and all entrepreneurs, retailers and service providers would be welcome. It would include free exhibition space and popup stalls, free workshops, inspiring talks and networking.
When you’re thinking of a venue, are there areas in your town or city in need of extra footfall?
In 2017, we switched venues from the Derby City Council house to Derby’s historic market hall? Why? Derby’s Market Hall is beautiful and is located in the city centre, but over the years, the visitor numbers were in decline. I made it my mission to fill the stalls with popup traders for our Small Business Saturday event and to keep it completely free.
It was a great success with one particular retailer taking over £500 in sales on her popup shop, which is usually online only. She loved meeting her regular customers face-to-face. A couple of popup traders became regular stallholders!
So you have a venue, you have the format. To make this a success, you will need help.
What’s your superpower? I own a small print firm in Derby, and I am passionate about what I do, but I also love networking and bringing people together. These passions come in very useful when organising events. But not everyone is a confident host. If you’re not happy about public speaking, ask someone else to compere. There are times when I am not feeling 100%, and on those occasions, I take a step back and instead, I help manage the event behind the scenes. After all, you can’t do it all yourself.
Ask for help. You’re a small business owner – you’re already busy, but you really want to create this event so, ask for help. In 2016, the event took place one week before my wedding day. I was running a business, hosting an event and organising my wedding. The event would not have been such a success without the help of my business buddies.
Find your tribe: find a group of people who are reliable and who will support you. Create an event committee with other local entrepreneurs. Decide on what needs to be done, by when and assign tasks. Save time by using an online collaboration tool to communicate in one place and to see how the project is moving.So you have a venue, you have the format, and you have people to help you. Now, you need people to turn up. How do I spread the word?
Networking: I network extensively in my local area at several business groups, and my business has a large client base. After a short evaluation, it was apparent they were our perfect target market, so the next step was to promote the event to those audiences.
Make it personal. It is a nice feeling to receive an invitation, so send personal emails to people you know inviting them to your event. Include your LinkedIn connections too. Remember to include local MPs and dignitaries.
Be resourceful. Utilising our resources, I design and print flyers to hand out at meetings and to include in our delivery packs. I even walk around local business parks and the city centre pushing them through letterboxes. Remember to give a supply of printed literature to everyone who has agreed to help you and ask them to distribute them amongst their contacts. Many local organisations will agree to display the flyers in their reception areas, including the local tourism office.
Get social. I schedule regular social media posts on all our business platforms and identify online business groups who will agree to include it in their event listings. In 2016 I created a Facebook Group for Derby's small business community, which has now over 550 members. Any events I host, I let the Facebook group know. I use Eventbrite to ‘sell’ the free tickets.
Remember to include Small Business Saturday UK in your social media posts – they will help you spread the word to their vast number of followers.
On many occasions, I struggle to conjure up social media content for my own business, but the Small Business Saturday events gives my business something to shout, and it also showcases our corporate social responsibility.
And last of all, any opportunity I have to talk about the event, I do!
There are other ways to promote your event.
Local Media Channels: Back in 2014, I used one of the Small Business Saturday press releases as a template to distribute an article to the local press. I included business organisations such as our local Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses and the Council’s own communications team. At this point, I had only been in business for two years and to see my company name on my Council’s website was a real thrill. I loved the thought of a big organisation supporting a small business. Another proud moment was in 2016 when I hosted the event in the council chambers and I sat in the Mayor’s chair in front of 80 people.
Flash Mob: To generate some anticipation in the run up to an event and for a bit of fun, I organised a flash mob on one of Derby’s historic streets, Sadler Gate. It is an area with many small, independent retailers – the perfect place. I called upon my network of business buddies and invited the local retailers to join me at a specific time with a print out of their company logo for a photograph. I incentivised the idea by agreeing to use the photo for all the publicity in the run-up to the event. I knew the image had to be perfect - I needed a professional! Looking at our client base and contacts, who did I think would be willing to take the photographs and what could I offer them in exchange? Simon from JAKT Photography agreed without hesitation- he simply wanted to help. This happened in 2014, and the image is still in use today*.
During the flash mob, a local restaurateur; Holly from The Wonky Table, saw what was happening and opened up just for us. She offered the ‘flash mob’ free drinks and a chance to network. Those who took up the offer made new contacts, which created new business opportunities. Not only that but The Wonky Table made some new, repeat customers, me being one of them.
What can you do during the event to create a positive atmosphere and make your day memorable?
Everybody conga! During our event in the Market Hall, we had a small business exhibition, popup traders, networking, talks and two workshops but the climax of the day was when we did the conga around the stalls. At this point the local newspaper arrived and captured our antics, which led to publicity online and in the newspaper not just for the event, or the campaign, or even my business for that matter, but for other delegates and stall holders too. Win, win!
Razzle dazzle them! Find a local band or music students to provide some live music. What about a flash mob-style rock choir?
Last year we implemented a ‘Golden Ticket’. We put all the delegate names in a hat and picked out ten to present their ‘elevator pitch’ to the entire room of over 80 people. We gave them physical golden tickets and asked people to wave them in the air, which provided some theatre as well as an excellent opportunity to promote their business.
I have enjoyed hosting and curating these events over the years. One crucial factor for me is that everything remains free: free to exhibit and free to attend. I believe it is essential to make it inclusive to everyone and to remove the hurdle of cost. These free events can only remain free with the generosity and support of my local business community, and for that, I would like to say a public ‘thank you’.
+ Contact your local Council. Can they sponsor a venue? Small Business Saturday UK is an excellent way of them showing support for their local businesses.
+ Use your tribe – who do you know? Sometimes the best people are right in front of you.
+ What are you doing it for? It is great to help others in your community but remember to accept and create opportunities to publicise your own business too.
+ “What’s in it for me?” Quite often, you won’t feel the benefit of your efforts until months or years to come. Be patient.
+ What does success look like? Set a goal: what would a successful event look like to you?
+ Quality, not quantity. Don’t be disheartened if delegate numbers are low. Many of my best meetings have been with fewer people because it allows you to have meaningful conversations.
+ Add some razzle dazzle!
+ Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
+ Know your strengths – use your superpower.
+ If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Be cheeky – you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to volunteer their time, skills and resources. When asking for freebies and help, be clear with your reasons why others should attend and get involved.
Yvonne Gorman owns Essential Print Services in Derby, which was one of the #SmallBiz100 in 2013.
*I would recommend you ask people to sign a Model Release Form or at the very least ensure people understand you will be using their photograph. This applies to photography for any commercial event.
Interested in writing a Blog Post for Small Business Saturday? Here are our guidelines.
- Accounting (1)
- Brand (1)
- Branding (2)
- Budgeting Tips For Small Business (1)
- Bus Tour (4)
- Business (1)
- Collaboration (2)
- Customer (1)
- Digital (6)
- Economy (1)
- Events (1)
- Exhibiting (1)
- Finance (3)
- Getting Online (2)
- HR (3)
- How To (4)
- Inspiration (6)
- Inspire Series (1)
- Legal (1)
- Marketing (3)
- Plan (2)
- Planning (3)
- Protect (1)
- Quick Guide (4)
- Recruitment (3)
- Small Biz 100 (2)
- Small Business (13)
- Small Business Saturday (15)
- Small Business Saturday 2015 (6)
- Small Business Saturday Uk Champion (2)
- Smallbiz100 (1)
- Social Media (3)
- Start-Up Support (1)
- Top Tips (12)
- Why embracing technology should be your New Year resolution2 Weeks Ago
- Starting a new business: financial tips for start ups5 Weeks Ago
- Top 10 security tips for small businesses storing personal data6 Weeks Ago
- From architect to artisan at the Dumfries Larder7 Weeks Ago
- Putting down new Roots in Abergele8 Weeks Ago
- How Amazon is helping one woman tackle taboos and period poverty9 Weeks Ago
- Creating a community: What it means to be a small business10 Weeks Ago
- Building an enabling bridge, brick by brick11 Weeks Ago
- Get ready to rock with Rockit12 Weeks Ago
- How to create an event for Small Business Saturday UK13 Weeks Ago
- Jampacked with passion: the local cinema that’s giving back15 Weeks Ago
- Celebrating the North East’s cycle stars4 Months Ago
- Don’t know what to write about? 9 ideas for your next business newsletter, blog or social media post4 Months Ago
- Take a butcher’s at the first of the #SmallBiz100 20195 Months Ago
- 7 essential growth tips that small businesses need to know5 Months Ago
- Making a great first impression: photography & small business5 Months Ago
- Strength in numbers6 Months Ago
- How to choose the right pricing strategy for your business7 Months Ago
- How taking matters into her own hands led to huge success for Revival Retro7 Months Ago
- Why apply to be a #SmallBiz100 2019?7 Months Ago
- 5 content ideas every small business needs8 Months Ago
- The Flour Pot Bakery's secret to success8 Months Ago
- How to harness the power of Instagram and drive your business forward - the GB Labels way9 Months Ago
- Making Tax Digital is here! What does it mean for your business?9 Months Ago
- How we should champion success for International Women's Day10 Months Ago
- Step aside Mystery Shopper scheme - hello new Public Procurement Review Service!11 Months Ago
- The top three causes of entrepreneur burnout and how to avoid it11 Months Ago
- Get a great digital ad for your business for just £50, and help tomorrow’s entrepreneurs learn with iDEA!12 Months Ago
- Badge Your Brilliance with iDEA12 Months Ago
- How to make your Christmas the most successful yet!14 Months Ago
- Life in the fast Laine14 Months Ago
- Small businesses shine at launch of Silver iDEA Award St James's Palace14 Months Ago
- Local and sustainable is winning formula for SmallBiz100 Hays Hampers14 Months Ago
- Red Herring Games – Case Study15 Months Ago
- Going for gold with the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award!15 Months Ago
- Keeping Up With The Tylers: How To Move With The Times15 Months Ago
- How to open a corner shop15 Months Ago
- Making our own kind of music at the Blue Tie Ball16 Months Ago
- How to guest blog (and look like you know what you’re doing)16 Months Ago
- How to market your small business on a budget17 Months Ago
- Top summer marketing tips!17 Months Ago
- Purposely: embedding purpose into the heart of your small business17 Months Ago
- A ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ for Britain’s small businesses17 Months Ago
- Your iDEA Award questions answered!18 Months Ago
- Five ways to make your business successful in five years!18 Months Ago
- SmallBiz100 Mooch revive the local high street18 Months Ago
- Why apply to be a SmallBiz100 2018?19 Months Ago
- SmallBiz100 Julu on design, manufacturing, and building an online business with friends19 Months Ago
- Small Business Champion Series From Rich Brady ... Setting Business Goals19 Months Ago
- SmallBiz100 Techsixtyfour on how to successfully build an online business19 Months Ago
- SmallBiz100 Frequently Asked Questions19 Months Ago
- Small Business Champion Series from Rich Brady...Putting the Family into Family Business20 Months Ago
- Exporting - not just for the big!20 Months Ago
- Can Giving Really Be Good for a Small Business? Spoiler: Yes!20 Months Ago
- Let's get organised....21 Months Ago
- Is your business leaking money?21 Months Ago
- Podcasting - The Ultimate How-To Guide - Part 221 Months Ago
- Podcasting - the Ultimate How-To Guide - Part 121 Months Ago
- Save time with automation22 Months Ago
- Setting BIG goals – why do it and how to go about it22 Months Ago
- International Women's Day 201822 Months Ago
- 9 tips for Business Success - it's all about love.23 Months Ago
- Demystifying LinkedIn for Small Businesses23 Months Ago
- 10 Top Money Tips for Small Businesses23 Months Ago
- Organising a Small Business Event - Tips from the Experts2 Years Ago
- 12 Top Tips for Micro-businesses2 Years Ago
- ACCA on board the Small Business Saturday Bus Tour3 Years Ago
- There is still time to get involved!3 Years Ago
- Is Britain Becoming a Cashless Society?3 Years Ago
- Small Business Spotlight - How Technology Can Help Small Businesses3 Years Ago
- Better people for Better business3 Years Ago
- Taking Your Business Beyond the High Street3 Years Ago
- Five reasons to be optimistic about access to finance in 20183 Years Ago
- Small Business Saturday App!3 Years Ago
- The Importance of Customer Service3 Years Ago
- Sign up today for free business mentoring!3 Years Ago
- 5 Ideas to Improve your Time Management3 Years Ago
- The Small Business Saturday Bus Tour launches across the UK for its fifth year!3 Years Ago
- 5 minute interview with Nick Entwistle from One Minute Briefs3 Years Ago
- Say Hello to the 2017 Small Business Saturday Champions3 Years Ago
- 5 ways to save money on your business energy3 Years Ago
- Establishing a Small Business through Online Branding3 Years Ago
- Get by with a little help from a friend3 Years Ago
- How Small Businesses Should Deal With Adversity3 Years Ago
- Three helpful ways your phone can reduce paperwork3 Years Ago
- How to Set Up Your Own Business3 Years Ago
- Give Your Business a Boost with Improved Conversion Rates3 Years Ago
- Protecting Your Business Against Risk3 Years Ago
- Small Business Budgeting Tips3 Years Ago
- Hiring tips for start-ups3 Years Ago
- How small businesses can build their online presence3 Years Ago
- Leading business experts come together in one-off inspirational event3 Years Ago
- Five Tips to Effectively Market your Business3 Years Ago
- Nottingham's Lady Bay Vintage Midcentury Antiques Fair4 Years Ago
- Spend with small busisness on Small Business Saturday up 15% year on year to £717 million4 Years Ago
- Why you need to add exhibiting to your marketing mix4 Years Ago
- Seven ways you may be able to reduce your tax bill4 Years Ago
- Practical advice from Acas to help small businesses succeed4 Years Ago
- Automatic enrolment problems? The PLSA has a Pension Solution4 Years Ago
- Ideas and Innovation Dens: help tease out those great ideas and turn them into reality faster.4 Years Ago
- Black & Gold: Supporting other local businesses through partnerships4 Years Ago
- Interview with Paul Gardner founder of the East End Trades Guild4 Years Ago
- Fully Funded Essential Management Skills Training4 Years Ago
- What I learnt in my first year in business4 Years Ago
- 4 Invoicing Mistakes you Should Avoid in your Small Business4 Years Ago
- Interview with Small Business Saturday Champion Elaine Pritchard from Caittom Publishing4 Years Ago
- A Guide to: Handling Small Business Disputes4 Years Ago
- Communication is key4 Years Ago
- How to get your small business found4 Years Ago
- Is cloud hosting for you?4 Years Ago
- Is cloud hosting for you?4 Years Ago
- How to: Get your product in a magazine4 Years Ago
- How to: Get your product in a magazine4 Years Ago
- Is Beer Brewing The Next Big Thing For The Hospitality Industry?4 Years Ago
- 5 tips to make starting your business easier4 Years Ago
- Do not underestimate the power of the internet4 Years Ago
- A Beginners Guide to Corporate Wiki4 Years Ago
- How to use social media to grow your small business4 Years Ago
- Recruiting for your small business4 Years Ago
- 5 Customer Experience Tips for Small Businesses4 Years Ago
- Effective interviewing techniques4 Years Ago
- How Your Small Business Should Go Digital4 Years Ago
- How to write the perfect job advert4 Years Ago
- Hiring a VA: What's it all about?4 Years Ago
- Surviving and thriving as a small business4 Years Ago
- Why job descriptions matter4 Years Ago
- Music makeover4 Years Ago
- Five things all SMEs should know when applying for funding4 Years Ago
- Self-assessment help for small businesses4 Years Ago
- Making the most of Small Business Saturday4 Years Ago
- Finding alternative sources of finance for your small business5 Years Ago
- Small Business Saturday 2015: Burton5 Years Ago
- Top tips for finding a great office for your small business5 Years Ago
- Interview with Martin George of the Post Office5 Years Ago
- Colourful New Photo Exhibition of Levenshulme Small Businesses5 Years Ago
- Small business and accessibility5 Years Ago
- 3 Online Tips for Small Business Saturday5 Years Ago
- A Pension Solution for small businesses tackling automatic enrolment5 Years Ago
- Competing Fairly in Business: advice all small businesses should know5 Years Ago
- Meet the businesses on the bus: Gough Quarters5 Years Ago
- Exhibition Marketing ideas for Beginners5 Years Ago
- How your business can make a difference with renewable energy5 Years Ago
- Your small business website: what to put on each page5 Years Ago
- Meet the Businesses on the Bus: Unflatpack5 Years Ago
- Meet the Businesses on the Bus: Recipe5 Years Ago
- How to get employment law right (and more) for small businesses5 Years Ago
- Meet the businesses on the bus: Riverside Dental5 Years Ago
- Making the most of Small Business Saturday in the big city5 Years Ago
- How music can benefit small businesses5 Years Ago
- 5 steps to starting a business in Global Entrepreneurship Week5 Years Ago