Tips for a successful Small Business SaturdayJump to content
Small Business Saturday is an annual shopping event dedicated to supporting small businesses and communities across the country, and is part of the larger Shop Small Movement. For many emerging brands, it’s a major date on the retail calendar – and one that represents a significant opportunity during the all-important holiday shopping season. With that in mind, there’s no better way to learn how to gear up for the day than a fellow founder. We tapped Chijioge “Chi” Nwogu of Gameflo.io, and Anne Daniels and Stephanie Robbins of Moon Fruit from our recent Target Forward Founders cohort 4 to get the scoop how they’re utilizing what they’ve learned during the program to set them up for success on Small Business Saturday, and to hear how they’re doing now.
Target Accelerators (TA): What’s something you’ve learned during Target Forward Founders that has helped your business grow?
Chi: Following the Target Forward Founders program, I was able to understand the full retail ecosystem and how each part is dependent on the other. Hearing that from speakers was super helpful, but I also appreciated the opportunity to talk through those topics more in-depth during office hours. Also, the feedback we received following our buyer coaching session was incredibly helpful as we think about our game box design and market positioning.
Anne and Stephanie: Before participating in the Target Forward Founders program, we were convinced that we needed to run our own manufacturing capabilities because of the complexities of our product. However, based on mentoring advice we received, guest speaker content and other learnings during the program, we have decided to move to a co-manufacturer. Following this shift, we now need a third-party logistics partner (3PL). Learning about this service was quite helpful to understand where our brand needs to go next.
TA: Small Business Saturday is coming up. How are you personally preparing for the day, and what tips do you have for other entrepreneurs as they gear up?
Chi: We are getting ready for Small Business Saturday by reaching out to our existing customers through marketing emails, and by sharing our story and mission on social media. Many times, brands will focus on how to acquire new customers. We know that growth is important, but we also value having someone buy our product multiple times and for other people in their family and community. That word-of-mouth referral can make a big difference for us in terms of sales.
Anne and Stephanie: When we prepare ourselves for moments like Small Business Saturday or the holidays, we are always thinking way ahead of time. When it comes to production and inventory, we plan 60 days ahead of time to have additional supply 15-30 days in advance. It’s so important to double up on your production when partaking in these kinds of events in order to be prepared for maximum sales. On the other side of the house, we are working on promotions; we look at what we’ve done in the past and boost our advertising when and where it makes sense.
A few key resources we recommend: If you’re an entrepreneur wanting to learn more about the Small Business Association, visit their website, where they have additional resources to help your brand grow and marketing materials to promote Small Business Saturday.
TA: Based on what you learned while participating in Target Forward Founders, what is one piece of advice you have for other entrepreneurs looking to scale their business?
Chi: This is going to seem really simple, but taking your product and putting it on the shelf you eventually want to be on is extremely eye-opening. It’s easy to design your product in a vacuum, so doing this activity helps you get out of your head and see the full picture against where you envision your brand and product going. Without Target Forward Founders, we never would have thought about shelves as real estate to validate design and better understand the shopper.
Anne and Stephanie: Based on the advice we found most valuable while in-program, we’d say consider and find a co-manufacturer. This is a marketing business and if you self-manufacture, you will then have essentially two businesses to run – the brand and the manufacturing piece. Find someone who is doing manufacturing well so that you can take advantage of their economies of scale.
TA: Outside of programming, what’s one thing about your Target Accelerators experience that will stay with you?
Chi: Definitely the programming – the presenters and mentors were simply amazing. There are so many nuggets of information that we will carry forever. Even today, we’re still looking back at our notes and all the resources we received from the presenters.
Anne and Stephanie: Engaging with other cohort members. While we’ve been incredibly busy, we are looking forward to meeting up with the Bay Area members (and any out-of-towners willing to come on by). These will be lifelong relationships.
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