How was your Small Business Saturday? According to data released this week, Main Street did pretty darn well this year with a 13 percent increase in foot traffic to local businesses. We dive into why this day focused on small business owners is so important in this week’s Trending on Thursday, and provide tips for making the most out of the holiday season, recruiting better employees and more.

Check out this week’s full #smallbiz roundup below and tweet us at @MarlinBusiness with your successful Small Business Saturday story.

  1. trendingdec11An estimated 112 million shoppers showed their support for Main Street on the seventh annual Small Business Saturday on November 26, setting a new record for the retail event. The day has been steadily gaining in popularity and serves as an antidote to the frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which tend to support major retail companies. The estimated 112 million shoppers and diners who reported spending money on Main Street last Saturday represent a 13 percent increase over the prior year, according to a CNBC article by Catherine Clifford. Go #smallbiz!
  1. We are winding down yet another year and it’s time to start reflecting on how the year progressed. It’s also time to start to think forward to what we want to do differently next year. It’s a wonderful transitional time as we both finish up and start again. It’s also an incredibly busy time of the year as small business owners try to carve out extra time to spend with their families while making the most out of consumers spending more of their paychecks. Jim Joseph from Entrepreneur has laid out the three focus areas he suggests you pay attention to help get through it all.
  1. trendingdec12The National Retail Federation predicts $655.8 billion in holiday sales this season, up 3.6 percent from 2015. In addition to securing enough working capital and inventory, you’ll want to prepare for the rush in other ways. NerdWallet’s Jackie Zimmermann has some great tips for getting started, including coordinating employees, improving your website and reviewing your store’s layout to ensure it’s optimally displayed for you customers.
  1. You want to be innovative. You need new ideas if your company is to succeed. Yet every time you try to come up with a new idea, all you get is a slight variation on something that’s been done before. There’s a reason for that, says Ransom Stephens, Ph.D., a science writer and novelist, and author of the new book The Left Brain Speaks, the Right Brain Laughs. Minda Zetlin’s article in Inc. details Dr. Stephens’ central thesis, explaining how being more childlike will increase your creativity.
  1. Hiring is one of a small business owner’s biggest challenges. As the unemployment rate shrinks, small business owners are concerned about losing talent to large corporations that offer richer benefits and higher salaries. However, studies indicate that for millennials in particular, corporate culture ranks high when deciding where to apply, and the most expedient way for a small business to showcase its unique culture is through its job postings. The Wall Street Journal’s Lynda Spiegel recently provided a helpful guide for small business owners detailing how they should rethink their job postings.