Montana’s leading small-business association is spreading the word with its members and other Main Street entrepreneurs to prepare for Small Business Saturday, which this year will be November 24.

“I would argue that Montana has more Main Streets per capita than most states, so we fundamentally know the importance of small business,” said Riley Johnson, NFIB’s Montana state director. “I like to think of these annual Shop Small Business Saturdays as the time to honor our mom-and-pop enterprises for the contributions they make to our communities by making a special effort to buy from them on this day. The people who benefit are the ones who gave most of us our first job and continue to provide employment for those who might need special accommodations, or are a little down on their luck, or are in search of a second chance.”

Last year, U.S. shoppers spent nearly $13 billion at small, independent stores and restaurants the Saturday after Thanksgiving, according to a survey by NFIB and American Express. Ninety percent of consumers surveyed said Small Business Saturday has a positive impact on their communities. 


NFIB suggests ways shops and restaurants can make the most of Small Business Saturday:

* Stay on top of your social media. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest, post often and promote any Small Business Saturday deals. Use the hashtags #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat so shoppers can find you easily. 

* Showcase the merchandise that would make a great gift. Group items on a table with a sign saying it would be the perfect gift for dad or a great gift for the grandparents. Restaurants can offer Small Business Saturday specials and gift cards. 

* Steal a page from the Black Friday playbook and offer doorbusters. Chain stores know a great way to drive shoppers to their stores is by offering special deals at different times of the day. There’s no reason a small business can’t do the same thing. 

* Partner with nearby businesses. Pool your resources to buy advertising promoting the neighborhood as a shopping destination or team up with other businesses on in-store promotions. For example, if they buy a pair of shoes here, let them know they can save 10 percent on socks next door.

* Don’t forget to tell your regular customers about Small Business Saturday. Put a sign in your shop and flyers in bags reminding folks to come back the Saturday after Thanksgiving for special deals. Download free “Shop Small” signs from www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/promote.