5 Last-Minute Ideas for a Successful Small Business Saturday - Entrepreneur

5 Last-Minute Ideas for a Successful Small Business Saturday - Entrepreneur

5 Last-Minute Ideas for a Successful Small Business Saturday - Entrepreneur

Posted: 27 Nov 2019 05:21 AM PST

It's not too late to make this Small Business Saturday a success for your business.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday that celebrates small businesses and it happens every year on the last Saturday of November. This big shopping day is a great way to promote your small business because unlike other popular shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you don't have to compete with the big guys. 

So, it's important that you take advantage of Small Business Saturday this year if you want to attract more shoppers to your business and generate more sales. But, how can you stand out on Small Business Saturday and grab the attention of shoppers?

Check out these 5 ideas for a successful Small Business Saturday. 

1. Put up signage

If you want to have a successful Small Business Saturday this year, first you need to remind your customers of the shopping holiday. So, be sure to put up signage in your small business weeks before the big day to inform shoppers and get them excited about the event. 

American Express, the creators of Small Business Friday, even offer customizable free signage and marketing materials like decals and posters you can use to promote Small Business Saturday to your customers.  

If your business doesn't have a physical location, you can "put up signage" on your website. Make sure to display your Small Business Saturday promotions prominently on your homepage and consider creating a dedicated landing page for Small Business Saturday deals. 

2. Create an email marketing campaign

Email is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers—and it's one of the best ways to promote your Small Business Saturday deals too. With email marketing, you can send your subscribers an invitation to your Small Business Saturday event straight to their inboxes. 

Take a look at this Small Business Saturday email from Forest Finds. In the email, Forest Finds thanks their loyal customers and lets them know that they can get 25 percent off their products during the upcoming event. 

The email also creates urgency by using phrases like "don't wait," "one day only" and "don't miss it." Creating urgency will encourage shoppers to nab those awesome Small Business Saturday deals before it's too late. 

3. Use social media and relevant hashtags

Your audience is on social media. In fact, according to Oberlo, 90.4 percent of Millenials, 77.5 percent of Generation X and 48.2 percent of Baby Boomers are active social media users. So, if you want to have a successful Small Business Saturday you need to be on social media too.

Start creating and sharing Small Business Saturday posts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, like small business The Mason Jar Monroe does below. 

This eye-catching Instagram post gives shoppers a sneak peek of what the business is offering on Small Business Saturday including deals, a hot chocolate bar and an opportunity to give back to the community in exchange for a coupon. 

To widen your reach, be sure to use relevant hashtags like #SmallBusinessSaturday, #SmallBizSat, #ShopSmall and #ShopLocal. 

4. Run a giveaway

A great way to get shoppers excited about Small Business Saturday is by running a giveaway. Everyone loves winning a prize or getting a free gift so running a giveaway will give shoppers a little extra incentive to shop at your business on the last Saturday of November. 

Your business could hold an online giveaway where users have to share your post in order to enter. This will help get the word out about your Small Business Saturday promotions faster. You could also run a simple raffle at your business or give away a free gift to the first 25 people that make a purchase. A giveaway is a great way to stir up excitement and turn casual shoppers into lifelong fans of your business. 

5. Share the story of your business 

Lastly, because Small Business Saturday is all about supporting local, small businesses, you should share your story. Sharing the story of your business will help you make connections and build meaningful relationships with your customers. 

So, let your customers know how you started your business and why you started it. You can share your story via signage, social media posts, in your email newsletter and so on. Sharing your story will help your customers get to know the person behind the company and show them why they should support your business.  

Make Small Business Saturday your own

Get ready to have the most successful Small Business Saturday yet. With these tips, you can attract plenty of people that are interested in shopping at and supporting small businesses like yours. 


Expert advice on how to come up with a great small business idea - Business Insider

Posted: 26 Nov 2019 11:13 AM PST

  • Anyone can come up with award-winning, money-making business ideas.
  • Business Insider tapped 10 entrepreneurs, founders, small business owners, and CEOs for their tips for imagining up the next big thing.
  • Their advice includes solving a problem that interests you, building off an already successful idea, improving upon a product, and using your hobbies as inspiration.
  • They also recommended keeping an eye out for social trends and journaling.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

At first glance, the three startups Max Krohn founded — SparkNotes, OKCupid, and Keybase — might seem worlds apart. But according to Krohn, each company helped to generate the idea for the next.

Krohn — who is now the CEO and founder of Keybase, an end-to-end encryption service — and his partners Sam Yagan, Chris Coyne, and Eli Bolotin developed SparkNotes as an online alternative to CliffNotes in 1999 while they were students at Harvard. 

"We thought we could produce study guides cheaply and wouldn't have to update them much," Krohn said. "We were basically iterating over things to work on and then stumbled upon that idea and thought it was worth attempting." 

They originally started developing an online site for casual dating because other dating sites like Match.com seemed too serious for college students, but when they started getting traction on SparkNotes they put their online dating app on the backburner. 

Max Krohn
Max Krohn.
Max Krohn

"We were always interested in matching people," he said. Eventually, SparkMatch became an intern project at SparkNotes. 

Later on they turned it into its own site — OKCupid — in 2003 after selling SparkNotes to Iturf Inc. in 2000 (the company was sold a second time to Barnes and Nobles for $3.5 million, Krohn said). 

"We came back to our half-baked product that almost worked and then reimagined the idea," Krohn said. OKCupid started out as SparkMatch, a site where registered users could take personality tests and then contact each other based on their test results. Initially, OKCupid was advertised to SparkNotes users because the online study guides attracted the same demographic and many SparkNote customers had used that beta version of SparkMatch. In 2010, OKCupid was (ironically) sold for over $50 million to IAC, the owner of Match.com.

Around the time that OKCupid was sold, it dawned on Krohn and his partners that people using apps — like OKCupid — were giving up a lot of personal data and trusting companies to protect it. "We started with that insight and thought about how to build a company to protect data," he said. Thus Keybase was born.

Coming up with award-winning, money-making business ideas like Krohn did (three times!) isn't something only certain people can accomplish. Anyone can do it — if they follow these tips, courtesy of expert founders and business owners.

Most entrepreneurs admit that their ideas were born out of problems they encountered or saw others struggle with. For example, Jason Brown, the CEO of Tally, said the idea to create a personal finance app that helps customers pay off their credit cards was inspired by his childhood. Tally currently manages nearly half a billion dollars of consumer credit card debt. 

"Growing up, there was a good amount of financial stress and anxiety," said Brown. 

Jason Brown TALLY
Jason Brown.
Courtesy of Jason Brown

That memory of his family's financial burdens was always in the back of his mind. Then Brown noticed how automation was becoming more prevalent, and he wondered what role automation would play in the next 20 years. He combined those two thoughts and came up with the idea to create an intelligent banking service that could take the emotional burden out of managing finances. 

Brown said that his formula for coming up with winning ideas is to consider what interests you, look for a big trend shaping our human experience, and then think about how that trend intersects with your interests. 

"My cofounder and I decided to try to find the widest unsolved problem first," Brown said. "That's why we zeroed in on credit card debt. Two-thirds of people with credit card debt have anxiety triggered by their debt. We wanted to focus on the emotional experience people have with their money."

One of the easiest ways to come up with new business ideas is to leverage an already existing venture, much like TV studios spin off of their most popular TV shows and turn them into movies, merchandise, and other offerings to grow their audience.

Leeron Cohen
Leeron Cohen.
Leeron Cohen

"Serial entrepreneurs are always thinking about how to spin off an already successful idea into another thriving business model," explained Leeron Cohen, cofounder and CEO of LA Media Group, a digital marketing agency in Hollywood, FL, Clips Garage, a video, photo, and illustration library, and Countless Creatives, a custom video and graphic design studio. 

This is exactly what Cohen did when developing his three businesses. He started with LA Media Group, and after seeing the success of that company spun off The Clips Garage to help businesses with videography and photography, and then created Countless Creatives to provide businesses with graphic design support.

Gary Nealon, who grew his company RTA Cabinet Store to $40 million before exiting, recommended thinking critically about the products you're currently using — and considering why you use them, if you're satisfied with them, and whether they could be improved. He also suggested reading product reviews. 

Gary Nealon
Gary Nealon.
Gary Nealon

"Are people commonly reporting issues and problems that you could solve?" he asked. Then make a better version. This is the strategy Nealon employed when he developed his ready-to-assemble, customizable kitchen cabinets, providing home-improvement aficionados another option for remodeling their kitchens. 

It's important to remember that your business ideas don't necessarily have to be groundbreaking. "You don't need a revolutionary idea or disruptive patentable technology to launch a business," said Jon Richards, cofounder of Nomatic.com, a travel accessories company. "You just need to be able to do something better, faster, or cheaper than everyone else." 

Richards and his cousin Jacob Durham entered the travel accessories business by designing an innovative slim wallet that gives users easy access to their four most-used credit cards via a pull tab. 

Jon Richards
Jon Richards.
Jon Richards

And you don't need to re-invent a product as long as you solve a long-standing, common problem with it, said Miguel Madrid, founder and CEO of Perk Apparel, an online men's apparel company. 

"It's about pointing out the problem in a customer's life, how your product will solve that problem, and how they'll be the hero of their own story by purchasing your product," he said. 

miguel madrid
Miguel Madrid.
Miguel Madrid

The idea to start Perk Apparel came to Madrid after trying on his first pair of expensive underwear. He liked how they felt, but he didn't want to spend $300 stocking up on underwear. "Perk was born as an elevated basics brand for busy men who need reliable, all-day comfort," said Madrid, who runs a lean, three-person operation with over $100,000 in monthly sales. 

Elizabeth Babinski — who is the founder of Liz Rae Weddings, an agency offering nondenominational ministers who create unique wedding ceremonies, Vows Well Traveled, an agency that plans elopement vacations, and Storytelling for Digital Nomads, an online storytelling course — pays "close attention to social media, specifically Facebook groups, to find new ideas or aspects people complain about." 

"A lot of people don't realize that social trends and business opportunities are actually deeply intertwined," said Peter Yared, the former CTO and CIO of CBS Interactive and a seven-time founder with more than $500 million in exits to companies such as Sun, Oracle, and VMware. 

peter 600
Peter Yared.

For instance, Yared developed Sapho, which was acquired by software company Citrix for $225 million, based on the social trend that millennials prefer to use an app for daily tasks. Sapho allows employees to file expense reports or request time off via app rather than through legacy time-and-attendance software. 

Transpond, a business platform for creating quizzes and sweepstakes to engage customers, was based on Yared's 2007 observation that consumers enjoyed sharing content with friends over Facebook. Transpond was eventually acquired by Webtrends and renamed "Webtrends Social," and then acquired by Oracle.

Robert Wray, currently the founder of ecommerce company Whitebox, advised that aspiring business owners dive into their hobbies for inspiration. 

Robert Wray
Robert Wray.
Robert Wray

"Patterns will emerge if you think through the lens of what businesses could exist" to support that hobby, he explained. Plus, this ensures you actually enjoy working on your idea. His first company, Mp3car, a forum and ecommerce store that sold hard-to-find electronic parts, was developed from Wray's interest in listening to digital audio in his car before the advent of streaming services. 

Elizabeth Babinski
Elizabeth Babinski.
Elizabeth Babinski

Some entrepreneurs look inward for ideas. Babinski develops hers through daily journaling. 

"I'll review the journal entries weekly to comb through frustration points, things I noticed, or other items that stick out to find solutions," she said. Her idea for Liz Rae Weddings stemmed from her experience as a wedding officiant. She didn't like how she was treated by other vendors when she arrived at weddings and decided she wanted to be more involved in the vision for the weddings she officiated.  

Mike Myer, the founder and CEO of Quiq, a text messaging platform for businesses, keeps a running list of ideas on his phone as they pop into his head and then finds time to sit down and rank the list in order of viable business ideas. 

Mike Myer
Mike Myer.
Mike Myer

"Let the ideas find you as you go about your life and current career," he said.  "Be inquisitive and open minded and, over time, the ideas will appear."

50 Ecommerce Business Ideas - Small Business Trends

Posted: 05 Nov 2019 12:00 AM PST

If you're interested in exploring online business ideas, ecommerce can be the perfect way to go. Selling online looks a bit different for everyone. With so many different platforms, products and business models to choose from, there's no shortage of ecommerce business ideas out there.

More and more people are buying products online, from everyday items to specialized goods. Get into the action with these 50 ecommerce business ideas.

Ecommerce Business Ideas

Reselling Business Ideas

General Online Reseller

With online marketplaces like Amazon, it is possible to build a successful ecommerce business without a specific niche. You can simply purchase products at discounted price or wholesale rates and then resell them to customers browsing on those platforms.

Clothing Reseller

If you want to choose a niche for re-sold goods, apparel and accessories are always popular with online shoppers.

Home Goods Reseller

Home goods, ranging from decor to kitchen items, can also make for a very successful online shop.

Toy Reseller

Kids' items are very popular with online shoppers. Purchase toys from wholesalers or discount shops to sell to online buyers.

50 Ecommerce Business Ideas

Book Reseller

Book shops are popular both online and off. You can sell new or used books and even consider a niche like college books or comic books.

Refurbished Tech Seller

Tech items like smartphones and laptops are always in demand. With the proper skills and supplies, you can refurbish old items to sell them at a higher price.

Handmade and Vintage Ecommerce Ideas

Handmade Jewelry Seller

If you're interested in selling items that you actually make by hand, jewelry is one of the biggest categories to consider.

Paper Goods Seller

There are tons of paper goods you can design and sell, from invitations to planners.

Wedding Accessories Seller

The wedding industry is huge online. You can make a variety of items, from hair accessories to photo props. Or you can source items from other retailers to sell online.

Handmade Toy Seller

These products tend to be popular with parents who want to make sure the toys their kids play with are safe and made locally.

Handmade Pet Products Seller

Similarly, you can make a selection of products meant for pets, like cat toys or dog bandanas.

Handmade Clothing Seller

Instead of sourcing clothing from other retailers, you can actually design and sew your own clothing and accessories to sell.

Vintage Clothing Seller

You could also purchase a selection of vintage clothing from shops or individuals to create a curated shopping experience.

Vintage Home Goods Seller

Similarly, vintage home goods are popular on platforms like Etsy.

Upcycled Furniture Seller

If you're able to paint, stain and reupholster pieces, you could purchase furniture that's in a state of disrepair and then fix them up before selling them at a higher rate.

Collectibles Seller

Collectibles like coins, stamps and baseball cards are always in demand. You can open your own online store or use platforms like eBay.

Original Art Seller

Artists, create your own website or use platforms like Etsy or Artfinder to sell your original pieces.

Custom Artwork Seller

You can also offer custom pieces where people commission portraits or specific items they want drawn or painted by reaching out to you online.

Art Print Seller

If you want to add an income stream as an artist or just offer some more affordable items, turn your original pieces into prints so you can sell multiple copies.

Print On Demand Business Ideas

T-Shirt Seller

Print on demand platforms like RedBubble and CafePress give designers a way to add specific images to t-shirts. Then they handle the printing and shipping. So you just need to create and list items.

Home Goods Seller

Similarly, you can have your items printed on a variety of home items, ranging from mugs to shower curtains.

B2B Ecommerce Ideas

Office Supplies Seller

If you're interested B2B online business ideas, you could open a shop that sells office supplies like printers, paper and writing utensils.

Restaurant Supplies Seller

You could also focus on a specific type of business like restaurants, selling uniforms, receipt books or commercial grade cooking gear.

50 Ecommerce Business Ideas

Workwear Seller

You might even focus on selling apparel that's specifically for businesses or employees, like scrubs for medical workers or construction apparel.

Shipping Supplies Seller

Since so many other businesses are selling products online or sending items to partners, shipping supplies like boxes and envelopes are in high demand.

Dropshipping Business Ideas

Home Goods Dropshipper

If you want to sell home products but don't want to actually handle items you could open up an online store and then use a dropshipping service to handle the processing.

Tech Dropshipper

Similarly, you can partner with companies that offer tech gadgets and create an online store to reach customers.

Clothing Dropshipper

For those more interested in fashion, dropshipping is yet another method you can use to reach customers without a ton of work on your end.

Food Products Dropshipper

Some dropshipping companies even have the bandwidth to handle food products like baking supplies or coffee accessories.

Toy Dropshipper

For a more family based business, work with a dropshipper that will process and deliver toys to your online customers.

Sporting Goods Dropshipper

There are a ton of sporting goods companies out there that you can partner with in order to sell products using the dropshipping method.

Automotive Supplies Dropshipper

Similarly, you can source and sell automotive supplies like tools or engine parts.

Beauty Products Dropshipper

There are plenty of products within the beauty industry that you can easily sell online, from skin and hair care items to cosmetics.

Subscription Box Ideas

Beauty Subscription Box

Beauty products also make for the perfect items for a monthly subscription box service where you ship a selection of small items on a recurring basis.

Snack Subscription Box

You might even enter this arena with a subscription box that offers various healthy snacks each month.

Book Subscription Box

Books can also work in a subscription model. Find new titles that fit into a specific genre and send them to customers each month.

Cleaning Supplies Subscription Box

You could also focus on craft supplies to give creatives a great way to try out new things.

Other Ecommerce Business Ideas

Digital Print Seller

If you don't want to ship physical products, you could offer digital items, like art prints that customers can print themselves.

Digital Print Seller

Digital Document Seller

For more of a B2B business, you can sell digital documents like spreadsheet templates or examples of contracts.

Online Health and Wellness Shop

Health and wellness is a huge niche right now. If you want to open your own online store that offers a variety of items, from workout gear to supplements.

Online Hobby Shop

Another online store idea with tons of variety, you can offer everything from model car kits to trading card games.

Online Gift Shop

Gift shops also offer a ton of different items. You can focus on artisan goods or gifts that fall into a particular category, like those for baby or wedding showers.

Online Bakery

If you love baking but don't want to open a full service bakery, create the same variety of products and then ship them directly to customers.

Online Candy Shop

Candy also makes for a perfect ecommerce business idea, since it keeps fairly well and is small enough to ship easily.

Online Plant Shop

Plants can be a bit trickier to ship, but it is possible to open an online plant shop, especially if you focus on small items like air plants and succulents.

Online Art Supply Shop

For an online shop that supports creativity, open a business that offers items ranging from paintbrushes to easels.

Online Consignment Shop

The consignment business model is common in brick and mortar stores. But you can apply a similar concept online where you accept products from other individuals and then sell them online, giving them part of your earnings.

Gift Basket Service

Gift baskets are popular for holidays, birthdays and even corporate functions. In your online store, offer a variety of baskets that contain popular gift items like snacks or scented candles.

Mobile Shopping Experience

More and more shoppers are turning to their mobile devices to complete purchases. Take advantage of this by creating a mobile shopping app where people can purchase your items.

Online Marketplace

Online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Etsy give tons of opportunities to small retailers and individuals who want to reach buyers without setting up their own online store. You could provide a similar service to other sellers by choosing a niche and creating a unique shopping experience.

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