A nearby town hosted a garden tour last weekend—a beautiful day to truly stop and smell the roses. It was also a chance for small businesses around town to promote themselves to regular and potential customers.

And promote they did.

Event sponsors (small businesses all—from restaurants and flower shops to plumbers, contractors, and lawyers) received ad space on the program. Their business logos also were on the bottom of the insert that listed upcoming town events this summer. And shops along Main Street placed the Garden Walk poster in their windows; many also offered sales and specials for the day.

Even the local volunteer fire companies and first responders got into the act. This particular town’s volunteer firehouse opened its doors for tours, providing information about what they do and letting small children view their trucks.

They also sponsored a 50/50 drawing.

It’s a simple split of the proceeds, where the fire company receives half. And a late summer drawing gives the organization months to solicit donations. A few small businesses participated in this, too.

One local business took its promotion to the next level. On the back of the ticket stub I received as proof of my donation (and chance to win the drawing), this restaurant offered a discount that is good for several months to come.

First, the eatery offered a percentage off my total tab through the end of July. The second offer was a free entree with the purchase of another, starting in August and good through year-end.

I need to keep the stub, anyway, as the drawing is in late August. But I’ll keep it in my wallet even longer because even if (no, when!) I win, I can continue to enjoy the discounts offered.

To me, this clever 50/50 ticket stub/coupon is yet another example of a win/win for a small business.

Check with your local organizations to see how you can partner in upcoming drawings and events. Chances are good that you will come away a winner with your customers.

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