Obamas, Government Officials Shop on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday seems to have been a rousing success throughout the country once again this year, with millions of consumers flocking to locally owned shops to make some necessary gift purchases for the upcoming holiday season. That included a number of prominent government officials, such as President Barack Obama and his family, who visited companies in and around the Washington, D.C., area.

For the past two Small Business Saturdays, Obama visited bookstores in the Beltway and stocked up on books, and that trend continued this year, as he and his daughters Sasha and Malia stopped by D.C. shop Politics and Prose, according to a report from CNN. In all, he bought 21 books, ranging from children’s classics like “Harold and the Purple Crayon” to more modern bestsellers like Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner.”

Obama also took to the White House’s official Twitter account to encourage consumers to get involved with Small Business Saturday, the report said. Further, many members of the Obama administration took the president up on that challenge, with Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services, Energy, and Transportation likewise visiting small businesses. A number of other government officials, including congressional lawmakers, also expressed their support for the event.

Important for small businesses to keep up with promotion
Of course, Small Business Saturday, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are only one-day events, and even if companies did good business on those days, that doesn’t mean their efforts to reach consumers in the coming weeks should be in any way curtailed. Instead, it might be wiser for independent enterprises to think of Small Business Saturday as the way to kick off the holiday shopping season by offering their best deals on that date, but then keeping up various promotions throughout the remaining weeks before the end of December. In this way, owners may be able to help ensure that there is a steady flow of customers coming through the doors not only this month, but in the future as well.

During the holiday shopping season, almost all businesses see more foot traffic coming through the doors, and it’s also important for owners to take advantage of this beyond just the initial transaction. For example, trying to obtain any customer’s email address for the purposes of marketing to them directly in the weeks, months, and even years following their purchase is a great way that companies can increase their chances of getting repeated business. While many consumers may not be comfortable turning over their email address, those that do so could prove to be valuable customers down the road.

Similarly, it might be wise for small businesses to print out calendars of the promotions they’ll run during the holidays, quickly explaining the kind of savings each will afford shoppers. It could be helpful, therefore, to stagger them. Having 25 percent off on one product and then 30 percent off the same one a week later might only lead to consumers coming back for the steeper discount, and thus it could be a better idea to make sure that there’s a lot of variety in the discounts being offered over the course of the month.

Finally, companies may also want to take this time to review not only their revenues, but also their expenses. For instance, looking into ways to reduce costs for small business insurance policies can go a long way toward ensuring the future financial security of a company. That could include workers’ compensation or general liability insurance coverage, which could in turn save companies thousands of dollars annually.