Small Business Saturday: How to Get Your Art Business Ready for Success

Artwork Archive | November 25, 2019 (Updated September 20, 2022)

As an artist, you are a small business owner.

With Small Business Saturday around the corner, you may be asking yourself how your art business can stand out this holiday season. 

People all over the United States celebrate Small Business Saturday, the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This day encourages people to shop locally at small businesses in their communities. 

According to a civic economic study by Grand Rapids, Michigan, for every $100 spent in a local business, $68 of it stays within the local economy, compared to just $43 for large businesses. Think about what impact you could make in your own economy by shopping and selling in your community.

Here are some tips to boost your selling success this holiday season. Follow these steps to help your business be ready for one of the busiest shopping days of the year. 

Think about preparation holistically

This may seem like an obvious tip, however, think about preparation holistically. If you were open last year on this day, start by looking at those numbers. What was popular last year? Are there areas to improve?

These improvements can be as simple as organizing an event, extending your studio or business hours, or being more proactive with your marketing. 

Then, think about the strategy. Will you be selling in person or online? 

If you are selling in person or anticipate a lot of shipping during the holidays, you may want to consider hiring seasonal help. If you are a gallery, this may be staff. If you work mainly out of your studio, this might be a studio assistantThey are the ones that will keep things running smoothly and help take advantage of this busy time. It's key to properly schedule your employees during these times. Many small businesses can avoid problems with thoughtful staffing.

Remember that the reputation of your art is connected to the people associated with it.

Think about the people that buyers interact with when they view and learn about your art. If there is a passionate and knowledgeable gallery employee or studio assistant, they are the ones that will be the most successful at interacting with customers and moving product.

Have artworks available at multiple price points

If you’re looking to tap into holiday season sales, you will want to ask yourself two things.

First, what type of art will you be selling this season? And, who is your target audience?

If you are appealing to a wide audience of shoppers, you might want to think about ways to maximize your sales potential with smaller works and reproductions.

Stocking stuffers, big-ticket presents, or mid-range art can all be on a shopper’s list.

To conquer the smaller items in your inventory, think about ways to market what you already have and might want to get rid of before the end of the year. 

Of course, the holidays are a great time to showcase your best works. However, you could also do a limited-time sale of artful one-offs. Your studio rejects can be packaged as fun and original gifts for those on a budget. Think about attaching your business card to low ticket items. This allows you to share your story, make the gift of your art an experience that goes beyond the visual, and also make room for future sales down the road.

Focus on creating a range of sellable options and save your time and energy for experimental and involved originals. 

Have your finances in check

Running a small business has so many moving parts. It’s crucial to stay organized, especially when it comes to your finances. 

The holiday season might bring in the most revenue, but sometimes you need to spend money to make money. Some of these additional expenses may include, hiring seasonal staff, purchasing new technology (maybe updating your sales platform and car reader), purchasing decorations, or spending more on marketing. 

Do your research and find a bank that caters to small business banking needs. Make sure that you are keeping track of your sales as they happen with systems that make sense for your career.  

Having a separate bank account for your art business will make it easier to see where your money is going and to get an overview of your business right away. Plus, you don’t waste time sifting through line-by-line to extract all your personal line items come tax time or anytime you need to get some insight into your business revenue.

There are a few other tools that can help artists keep track of expenses and revenue. Quickbooks has an option for self-employment that helps artists with small business keep track of profit and loss. Artwork Archive also has an income feature that allows artists to track sales, workshop fees, and any other income and expense for their art business. You can get quick insights into how your art business is performing, generate invoices and stay on top of your budget.

Running an art business is easier and less stressful during an already stressful holiday season if you can understand how your money is flowing in and out.

Promote specials on social media

Now, more than ever, social media has turned into a marketing platform. For a small business like an art studio or gallery, social media is the perfect way for you to showcase your work. 

If you haven’t already established a social media profile for your company, take the time to set that up. Once you have social media platforms, continue to work with them so that they can work for you. Your social media platforms are the perfect place for you to promote special deals or events you’re planning for Small Business Saturday. 

If you are planning on running promotions on your social media platforms during the holidays, make sure to announce or state in your bio the last day for orders. You will want to give yourself plenty of time to ship your artwork before the holidays. This will not only ensure that you are seen as a professional in the eyes of your clients, but it will also give you the space to relax and enjoy your family before the holidays as well. 

Partner with other small businesses

The art world runs on connections. The holiday season is the perfect time to nurture those relationships. If you’re wondering what you can do to give back as a small business owner, partner with another local business!

Look to join holiday art fairs or team up with multiple businesses to put on an event or promotion together. Partnerships and events will help you get more customers through the door on Small Business Saturday and you’ll reach a whole new audience. 

Partner with businesses that align with your values and mission.

Seek out natural partnerships and connections between your work, thematically, materially, or regionally. Maybe you partner with local home decor or furniture shops. Perhaps offer a coupon to your partner business with an art purchase. You could also collaborate with a nearby coffee shop that will display artwork while you provide your customers with a complimentary sample of their coffee. Make partnerships fun and beneficial for both businesses.

Need to get the business side of your art practice ready for Small Business Saturday? Artwork Archive has a free 14-day trial to get you ready for this busy day.

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