Are Your Customers Ready to #ShopSmall This Small Business Saturday?
By Monica Montesa November 14, 2014
Small Business Saturday is Saturday, November 26th. Get inspired by these small business stories and download your free last-minute checklist.
For some, baking cupcakes is simply a hobby.
But for others, it’s the foundation for a sweet business idea.
That was the case for Joanne Jarin, founder of The Lucky Cupcake Company.
“I started working for a local caterer under the wing of his pastry chef, [and] after a few years, I left my job and started working on my business plan, selling cakes and cupcakes from my home.”
Today, The Lucky Cupcake Company has become a local favorite for specialty cupcakes and cakes (with unique flavors like tiramisu and red velvet cheesecake). And they’ve achieved that milestone thanks to their loyal fanbase.
Without the patronage of awesome customers, small businesses like The Lucky Cupcake Company wouldn’t be able to serve the local community (and satisfy those sweet tooths).
Fortunately, we can each play our part in the “shop small” movement on Small Business Saturday, this November 28th.
Get involved this Small Business Saturday
For small business owners, the support is vital to their success. What patrons don’t often see when browsing the aisles of a store are the innate challenges that often come with owning a storefront.
“There are many obstacles along the way; the biggest one being fear,” admitted Jarin.
To overcome those challenges, she focused on her professional strengths and committed to acknowledging and changing weak aspects of her business. “I wasn’t afraid to reach out and ask those I knew who had more experience for advice; doing so has paid off time and again,” she adds.
Focus on building relationships
Bill Pavlou, owner of Super Duper Deli in Edison, NJ, agrees that every business has its own unique set of challenges.
“We’ve seen competition move into the area and offer lower costs on certain items, but to do so they sacrifice quality,” he says. “We have tremendous relationships with our customers and are honest about how we do business. That sounds simple, but I think all too often, that concept is forgotten.”
At Vault Brewing Company, a gastro-brewpub in Yardley, Pennsylvania, owner James Cain and his colleagues understand the value of customer appreciation and feedback, often using it for inspiration.
Although they must achieve the delicate balance of satisfying customers while also pursuing their vision for the brewery, Cain says one of their biggest successes is a community-driven product offering known as the “Trial & Error” series.
“These beers have not been tested by the brewery and we allow our customers to provide direct feedback through comment cards on the success (or failure) of the particular experiment,” Cain says. “The concept has allowed for a behind-the-curtain peek at our beer recipe design process and allows the customers to have a say in the outcome of future beers.”
For these small business owners, delivering a great customer experience is central to their day-to-day operations.To a small business, you are not just a sale or a customer, but a person. #ShopSmall Click To Tweet
And you can’t forget the value of a hand-made purchase or great experience, either. “When you can literally feel the heart and soul that went into crafting a particular art, it truly uplifts the purchasing experience,” says Cain. “Seeking out products that are designed by people who care about the same things you do should be an important part of everyone’s purchasing decisions.”
Aside from catering to customers, these small businesses have committed to helping the local community as well, often donating time and goods to charitable groups.
“Purchasing from a small local business helps to [employ] local people, [and] puts money right back into the community in which you live or shop,” says Jarin. “I also feel buying from a small business helps to keep the large world we live in a little smaller.”
“It’s your way of giving back and supporting the growth and vitality of those people who are making real changes in the community,” says Cain.
Small business builds community
“Small businesses are the mainstay of the local economy,” says Ellen Yin, owner of Fork Restaurant in Philadelphia. “Supporting local business improves the community.”
After quitting her day job to open Fork, Yin was drawn to the industry and community of Philadelphia. Citing her four chefs as part of the restaurant’s success, she also notes the importance of “staying relevant to a changing customer base and trying to stay true to our vision, [while also being] willing to change if the market changes dramatically.”
In the end, it seems to always come back to pleasing and gaining support from customers.
“Small Business Saturday isn’t just about supporting small businesses, it should be about choosing to spend your money at a destination that matters to you. One that has the ability to affect even more lives the way it’s affected yours,” adds Cain.Small Business Saturday isn't just about supporting small businesses, it should be about choosing to spend your money at a destination that matters to you. #ShopSmall Click To Tweet
Download the free checklist
As a former small business ourself, the “shop small” movement is one that’s close to our heart.
To help AWesome small business owners spread the word and attain the customer love they deserve, we’ve created a last-minute checklist, as well as an email header and email template* specifically designed to encourage shoppers to participate in Small Business Saturday:
Download your free Small Business Saturday Action Plan from @AWeber! #ShopSmall Click To Tweet
How are you encouraging your customers to #ShopSmall on November 26th? Leave us a comment or send us a tweet.