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Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and providing essential goods and services to our communities. As a chamber of commerce professional, you know it's important to celebrate and support these businesses all year round.

But it's hard to come up with creative ideas. What can you do to make your small business celebrations truly unique and memorable? We have a few ideas. 24 to be exact and we chose that number so you can start prepping for some serious small business love in 2024.

Ready?

24 Activities to Celebrate Small Business

As we approach a new year, you may be planning what you can do next year to make an even bigger difference than what you've done this year. We have some ideas to get you started.

1. Host a small business scavenger hunt: Create a scavenger hunt that sends participants on a journey to explore different small businesses in the community. This is a fun and interactive way to get people out and about and supporting local businesses. Get creative around a theme. Check out this cute idea from the Winchester Chamber and their trolls in a holiday-themed scavenger hunt (but you can do this year-round).

2. Create a small business improv workshop: Bring small business owners together for an improv workshop to enhance their communication, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Improv can be a great way to build teamwork and communication skills, which are essential for any business. Plus, there will probably be a lot of laughs.

3. Commission a small business mural project: Collaborate with local artists to create a vibrant mural that celebrates small businesses and their contributions to the community. This is a great way to beautify the community and show your support for small businesses. ArtWorks created a public art project with a professional artist and elementary school children. The collaborative effort got a lot of attention. The same could be done for a small business. 

4. Create a small business story video series: Produce a series of short videos that showcase the unique stories and passion behind local small businesses. This is a great way to share the stories of small businesses with the community and build awareness of their work. You can also incorporate some nostalgia albeit sparingly of people sharing stories about businesses that are no longer around. Thus, highlighting the importance of supporting them.

5. Run an interactive social media campaign: Create an interactive social media campaign that encourages residents to share their experiences with local small businesses. This is an effective way to generate buzz and excitement around your small businesses.

6. Establish a small business peer-to-peer mentoring program: Establish a structured peer-to-peer mentoring program where experienced small business owners can provide guidance and support to newer entrepreneurs. This is a great way to provide valuable mentorship and support to small businesses. This type of program is also a strong way to 

7. Host a small business legal clinic: Host a pro bono legal clinic where small business owners can get free legal advice from local attorneys. It may also help new attorneys build a clientele.

8. Run a small business technology bootcamp: Organize a technology bootcamp to provide small businesses with hands-on training on essential digital tools and platforms. This is an ideal way to help small businesses stay up-to-date on technology and use it to their advantage. It also provides an incredible sponsorship opportunity when paired with a minority outreach program like what Bank of America did here.

9. Host small business appreciation events: Show small businesses how much they are valued by the community with an appreciation event in their honor. Ask the community to nominate a small business that does amazing things for your area such as sponsoring sports teams, hosting food drives, etc. This not only rewards the business that is supporting the community but shows others how much the business does. There are probably many people out there who don't know the extent to which small businesses give back.

10. Bring special treats: Bring a delicious treat by your small business members to express your appreciation of them. There are countless ideas on Pinterest that involve witty labels and small appreciation gifts.

11. Host business planning workshops: What does it take to start a small business in your area? Create a yearly business planning workshop for anyone who has ever thought of opening a business. It's a great way to show entrepreneurs the value behind the chamber.

12. Plan small business loan fairs: Help small business owners connect with lenders who can provide them with the financing they need to grow their businesses.

13. Host a financial management workshop: Teach small businesses about budgeting, bookkeeping, and other financial topics. This is a great opportunity for a local financial professional to share their expertise (and maybe get some new clients).

14. Teach a marketing and sales workshop: Help small business pros learn how to effectively market and sell their products and services when they can't afford a marketing or sales team.

15. Plan industry-specific networking events: These events bring together small businesses from the same industry to discuss common challenges and opportunities. You can also structure these events with complementary businesses like wedding professionals (because referrals are big business in those industries.)

16. Partner with local media for coverage: Now, more than ever, media outlets are looking for feel-good, local stories. Collaborate with newspapers, radio stations, or online publications to showcase the vibrancy of local businesses and tell their success stories or share news of their awards and honors.

17. Create (or be a part of) a supportive online community: Establish a dedicated online forum or group where local businesses and community members can share insights, ask for advice, share specials, and support each other. If you don't want to create your own and have to worry about seeding it with content until it reaches critical mass, research existing online groups and be a listener. When someone asks for something like a recommendation, alert your member or give them a shoutout.

18. Facilitate multi-business events: Act as a bridge between businesses looking to collaborate on joint promotions, events, or cross-marketing campaigns. For example, some chambers have created a ‘Wine Walk’ where attendees pay a flat fee for a taster and small bite at several businesses throughout town. It encourages people to visit businesses they may never have been in before.

Not interested in pushing alcohol consumption? That's fine too. You can create the same thing using candy or hot chocolate. Don't forget the souvenir branded item and encouraging local merchants to run specials that night. 

19. Launch a digital media countdown campaign: Create buzz and anticipation by starting a countdown highlighting different businesses each day on social media until a major holiday or event such as Christmas or the town's founding.

20. Plan a festive business decorating contest: Encourage businesses to decorate their storefronts (or lamp polls) creatively for some special event. This fosters community engagement and friendly competition. Remember, this works outside of the winter holiday season too.

21. Organize a market or pop-up shop: Provide a platform for your smallest businesses to showcase their products, attracting shoppers and creating a festive atmosphere. This works well during the Christmas season but at other times as well. Get creative with your pop-up themes.

22. Create a gift guide: Curate a guide featuring products or services from local businesses, promoting it through various channels to encourage shopping within the community. Don't limit yourself to Christmas. Think of other times of the year where a shopping guide would be helpful like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Back-to-school, etc.

23. Enjoy a new twist on networking: Organize a networking event where small business owners are encouraged to bring a sample of what they sell. This could be donated into a raffle or given as part of a gift exchange. Not only is it fun, but it allows others to learn more about their neighbors and what they do. If their business doesn't lend itself to samples, they could give a 15-minute conversation about something they're an expert in personally or professionally.

24. Run a tag your location contest: Run a tag your location/check-ins contest on social media. Invite community members to check-in when visiting a local establishment. Give out a prize (like Chamber Bucks or a local gift card)for the person with the most tags. You can do the same thing with reviews or hashtag use. You will need people to register before they can participate.

By implementing these innovative and impactful initiatives, your chamber can differentiate itself and solidify your position as champions of small businesses.

Want to do something for small business during the holiday...

Make a big impact on small businesses and your chamber's success by participating in Small Business Season. If your chamber is not already signed up, go to https://bit.ly/sbs-2023. You can come in at the Basic Level or the Professional Level.


Small Business Season is not just a campaign; it's a movement to support the backbone of our communities. Together, let's make this year's holiday the most prosperous yet for our local communities! 

Join us for Small Business Season!

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