Croydon’s Tech Community and Small Business Saturday


By - Tuesday 29th October, 2013

Local marketeer and #Croydon #TechCity aficionado Becca Taylor suggests how Croydon’s small businesses and start-ups can take advantage of this year’s Small Business Saturday

 


Photo by Kake Pugh. Image used under Creative Commons license.

On December 7th, the UK will play host to its first ever ‘Small Business Saturday’. This initiative, to encourage shoppers to start using their independent retailers, cafés and restaurants again, has been brought to the UK by Ingenious Britain, after a successful few years in the USA. Businesses across the pond have reported increased sales, not just on the day, but for months following too.

For retailers, this is an opportunity to be grabbed with both hands. The timing of the day (America’s first full weekend following Thanksgiving celebrations) is important, as for many brits it will mark the beginning of their Christmas shopping, and the natural increase in footflow across the high street. There’s scope to offer discounts, free gift wrapping, but there’s also so much more Croydon could do. Don’t let customers buy their Christmas gifts in an independent retailer but then sip coffee in a tax-avoiding multi-national – recommend them a small café, and team up with them to offer partner discounts. Small Business Saturday should inject new community spirit into our town centre, not just one-day discounts.

Our flourishing tech scene should be celebrated through this event

However, for many small businesses, Christmas doesn’t mean an increase in custom, and Saturdays don’t mean a better footflow through your door. So for the lawyers, the accountants, the tech start-ups, the telecoms providers – what can we do to capitalise on the interest of Small Business Saturday? Ingenious Britain suggests hosting an open day, allowing members of the local community to come in and see what it is you do – taking this a step further, why not promote your services with twenty minute free advice sessions? Target those in the area who want to get into your industry and offer a graduate jobs and training advice fair, allowing the future of your industry to get to know what it’s like to work in the sector and how they can get there.

In Croydon, our flourishing tech scene should be celebrated through this event. Use StreetPin to register your business and kick off some offers and advertising. Organise a techies dinner with TableCrowd, and go to an independent restaurant. Find your next developer or assistant on Skills Hive. Host a free film night and invite the community too with Kinopto. ICUK will be encouraging small businesses in Croydon and South London to send in their phone bills to be put through their price comparison tool, in the hope of saving fellow small businesses hundreds of pounds a month in their phone calls. They’ll also be encouraging people to start their own small business as a telecoms, broadband or hosting reseller.

Croydon’s tech can genuinely make something of this and hopefully see a boom in business

The encouraging thing for tech everywhere is that this initiative has been propelled through social media – by Facebook, Twitter hashtags and Google+. By working to create advertising that will capitalise on the groundwork, Croydon’s tech can genuinely make something of this and hopefully see a boom in business.

For us at Croydon TechCity, Small Business Saturday is probably preaching to the choir – after all, we love a good start-up; we meet at an independent coffee house; and our crowdfunder of choice works exclusively with small businesses. Keeping it local can be infectious and addictive but some people need a little more encouragement. If we keep up our enthusiasm, we can pass on the disease this #smallbizsatUK.


THE NEXT #Croydon #TechCity event will take place on Thursday November 21st 7:30pm at Matthews Yard, make sure you sign up now on Facebook or to confirm your attendance.

Becca Taylor

Becca Taylor

Becca is a newcomer to South London, currently living in Sutton and working in Purley, as ICUK.net's Head of Marketing. She has a background in politics and journalism, and is slowly learning the ropes in the tech world. A graduate of Swansea University, Becca is also a keen fitness enthusiast and a proud fan of Southampton FC.

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