black fridayNow what do I do?

I have heard this question from more than a few small business owners over the last couple weeks, so here for you last-minute style folks is my response:

Step One: Relax

Black Friday is for big ol’ malls and the retail chains within.  You can run all the Black Friday specials you want, there’s still time to set up a sweet sale, but come the day after Thanksgiving you can divide folks pretty evenly into three camps:  Those that camp out in front of the mall for the best deals, those that find their way to the mall sometime during the day to see what’s left, and those that avoid the insanity and stay at home and enjoy time with their family.

Over-generalization? Yes. But if you want to calculate how many people might camp out in front of your business, ask yourself this simple question: am I at the mall?  If the answer is no, then don’t expect many folks to show up with camp stools and sleeping bags.

Step Two: Small Business Saturday

If Black Friday is the day big retailers get in the black for the year, then Small Business Saturday is for small business owners like us.  The Small Business Administration has a wealth of guides and sample material to help you pull off a successful small business Saturday, so if this is the route you want to go, better get started.

Step Three: Cyber Monday

So called since 2005 when market researchers found that the Monday after Thanksgiving was becoming a big day for online stores.  Folks are back at work after the holiday, but perhaps have some shopping left over from the weekend, or at least a fresh Christmas list gleaned from Thanksgiving conversations with loved ones.  If you’re selling products online and want to put a few things on sale for the holidays, get them ready and have the sale live by Cyber Monday.  Be advised that online shopping levels remain high through Dec. 15th, so keep those sales going!

Step Four: Spread The News

Having a sale is all fine and dandy, but it does no good without volume.  A quick newsletter announcement (ideally through our preferred newsletter service, Mailchimp) can let existing customers know what’s up with Cyber Monday, Small Biz Saturday, Taco Tuesday, whatever.  Ask them to forward the sale info to anyone they know who might be interested.  You might be surprised how many of your customers will be happy to do this if asked.

Step Five: Plan Ahead

So you didn’t plan anything for Black Friday.  Give SBS or CM a try and see how it goes.  You can plan for next year accordinly, with a years lead time to put together any direct mail campaigns, posters, business cards you might need to make next year’s Big Event even Bigger and, um, Eventful.  We’re planning ahead geeks over here, so if you’re still at a loss for ideas or would appreciate a fresh, not to mention specific-to-your-case, perspective, why not schedule a call with us?  Until the new year, your first two hours of consult/training/strategy with us are free, so get on it!