How you can get involved with Small Business Saturday on 5 December
Small Business Saturday exists to promote small businesses all around the UK. Last year more than 16.5 million people shopped at a small business on 4 December and the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday was trending on Twitter all day.
With the next Small Business Saturday coming up on 5 December, it’s a great chance for small businesses to spread the word about what they’re doing and to bring some money into the local economy. There are plenty of ways you can get involved no matter what type of business you run.
You can draw customers into your business by putting on special offers, teaming up with other local businesses and organising events designed to promote the best of what the small businesses in your area have to offer.
Even if you don’t sell a product, you can still get involved. Perhaps you could be the driving force behind a winter market event or could bring businesses together to offer discounts for shoppers on the day.
By using the hashtag on the day and in the run up to it, you’ll be exposing what you do to people who are interested in working with small businesses.
You should also use your social accounts to draw people into your business with special offers. While there will be a lot of people getting involved with their own offers on the day, your existing customers and followers might jump on the chance to work with you at a discounted rate.
You should also take the time to promote what other small businesses are doing too as not only could these turn into valuable contacts in the future but it’s all within the spirit of the day.
Business to Business
If you work in a business to business environment, you can still get involved in Small Business Saturday as it’s not just about getting consumers to come into a shop and spend some money. In the run up to the day you can set up networking events with other small business owners, offer a discount to them and perhaps even update your blog with advice for small businesses.
Take a look at the Small Business Saturday website for more ways in which you can get involved on 5 December.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”