Veterans Day Tips for Small Businesses

VetDay_BFSWhile we never forget our veterans, most of us tend to forget Nov. 11; except maybe when we try to go to the bank or to pay a parking ticket. Banks and government offices are closed this day.

Still, that’s no reason you shouldn’t take the opportunity to show your appreciation for veterans and maybe even help your business in the process.

Here are some tips for honoring vets, while bettering your small business this Veterans Day. So even if you’re not closing your doors, you can at least show your customers this is a day that matters.

    • Beat Black Friday, Have A Veterans Day Sale: You can bundle your “Black Friday Preview Sale” with a Veterans Day Promotion. Get people who have the day off to come in for your special deals early, and get early word-of-mouth about your great sales to come.


    • Give Vets the Day Off: It’s a great irony that not only do many companies stay open on Veterans Day, most don’t give their employees who are veterans the day off. Doing this will give your veteran employees a much-needed break; show your company is veteran-friendly; and most important, build loyalty among your staff.


    • Partner with Veteran-Owned Businesses: If there’s a local business that’s veteran owned, see if they’ll partner with you for a promo, and you can do the bragging for them. If you don’t know of any, here's a List.


    • Give Veterans a Discount: Most cities have a running list of free offers local businesses have for veterans. If you’re going to give a free meal to a vet, give it to his or her family too; so they don’t have to spend money to appreciate your offer.


    • Advertise in Military Publications: This might not be practical if you’re a local restaurant and nowhere near an installation. If you have an online business, or a service that can be used from anywhere, targeting vets with your offers in newspapers like Army/Navy Times can put you in the forefront of their minds.


    • Hold A Service Members’ Donation Drive: Hold a drive for service members’ care packages and offer up a big sale the same day. People will be there anyway, hopefully notice, and help you while they’re helping the armed forces.


    • Promote for a Veterans’ Charity: A few years ago, Papa John’s donated $1 for every pizza ordered on Veterans Day. With the nation’s second-largest pizza chain, that adds up. But a similar gesture on your end won’t go unnoticed. You can also promote the charity on your social media channels by encouraging your followers to donate.


    • Reward Customers Who Donate: If you decide on running a donation drive, you can go so far as to offer up a discount for customers who bring in donations. Or, in your promotion of a veterans’ charity, offer that discount to anyone who comes in with a receipt showing they donated.


    • Offer Vets a Free Introductory Service: Offer something introductory to all veterans, like a personal training session, or a tax consultation, or possibly even a free traffic ticket defense. Whatever your service, showing your appreciation will build a strong veterans’ customer base.


    • Alert The Media: Veterans are a humble group. That doesn’t mean you need to be. Let local newspapers, television, radio, and online publications know what you’re doing for veterans so they can spread the word for you. If nothing else, it’s a winning PR strategy, and lets everyone know you appreciate what veterans do for our country.

If none of these tips really spark your interest, you can always keep it simple. Commit to share a portion of you sales with a particular organization that supports veterans. Send a quick email to let your regulars know and don't forget to share a link on your business's social media pages.

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Matt Meltzer

Matt Meltzer is a professor of business communication at the University of Miami. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and holds a bachelors degree in business administration from UM, as well as a Masters of Mass Communication from the University of Florida.