Planning · April 22, 2021

4 Creative Ways to Take Advantage of Small Business Week 2021

Small businesses drive the economy, employing 47% of workers in America in 2020 (PDF). But the last year has been especially challenging for many of these businesses, which is even more reason to celebrate and acknowledge the important role they play in their communities.

National Small Business Week does just that. The weeklong holiday, which traditionally takes place the first week in May, recognizes the contributions of the country's entrepreneurs and small business owners. The Small Business Administration, or SBA, launched the holiday 50 years ago. The SBA hasn't yet released official dates for Small Business Week 2021, but last year the holiday was postponed to September because of the pandemic, so many are expecting similar timing in 2021.

If you're a small business owner, now is a good time to start planning how you'll promote your business and engage customers during this year's holiday. Here are some strategies to get you started.

1 Offer a deal

Customers love discounts. While it may be hard to discount your products and services if your revenues have taken a hit during the pandemic, there are several ways you can still do this and improve your bottom line.

Consider offering deals on inventory you've had trouble moving in the last year to help boost profitability. Instead of buy-one-get-one-free deals, you could offer a discount on a future purchase or a gift card as an incentive to get customers to return and shop with you. If this isn't possible, consider swag and small customer appreciation gifts you can add to customers' orders, like a branded mug, T-shirt, USB cord or portable phone charger.

If you have an online-only business, you could host a free virtual event or webinar. You might also consider offering flash sale deals that expire after a certain time, with a cap on the number of orders. Just think of something that aligns with your business and use it as a way to thank your customers and remind them of your brand.

2 Get social

Over the last year, we've seen many people step up to support the small businesses in their communities. Customers want to feel connected to the businesses they support, so using social to engage your community can boost your business's visibility and might just drive sales—with or without an enticing discount offer.

Once the SBA confirms the date for Small Business Week 2021, create a strategy for how you'll promote your business on social media. This can be as simple as publishing a promotional post a few times a week to let customers know about upcoming deals and events you plan to offer during Small Business Week. Or you could share video or text-only posts about your business's story and how you've overcome challenges in the last year thanks to your customers' support. Instagram Stories and 15-second TikTok videos, for example, are a great way to engage your audience without much time or effort.

And don't forget to use the SBA's official Small Business Week hashtag to make sure everyone sees your posts. The promotional materials the agency provides, which include social media graphics, also can streamline your marketing efforts.

3 Create a special promotional product or service

To drive more foot and online traffic, consider creating a promotional product or service tied to Small Business Week. If you own a restaurant, create a signature drink or dish that incorporates the flavor, feel and history of your community. This also can provide an opportunity to experiment with and test items you might want to feature on your menu permanently. If you have a clothing store, consider a signature T-shirt or hat with a catchy phrase or use Small Business 2021 to debut a new design. With this approach, you could increase sales and gather insightful feedback to help improve your business.

4 Partner with another small business

Joining forces with another small business can also help drive sales. Your businesses could offer a joint discount whenever a customer purchases products or services from one of your establishments. For example, if you own a sneaker store, you can partner with a local sports apparel retailer to offer a 10% discount whenever a customer buys a new pair of sneakers from your store or at least $25 in sports gear from the other business, and vice versa.

Preparing for Small Business Week 2021

Small Business Week is a great time to promote your business and show your gratitude to customers.

Whether you launch a new product or service, develop creative social media campaigns or partner with another business, take advantage of the holiday to boost sales, increase your brand awareness and experiment with innovations that could make your business more competitive. While these strategies will serve your business well during Small Business Week 2021, they might also inform your business plan year-round, allowing you to drive more sales and engagement.


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