Shoppers, take your marks. With Black Friday just over and Thanksgiving celebrants still picking at turkey leftovers, Small Business Saturday begins.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Established in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a grassroots effort to foster local businesses, as a means of encouraging economic development, employment and enterprise. On this date, consumers are urged to shop exclusively with local merchants, rather than patronizing multi-store chains and big businesses.
How can individuals participate in Small Business Saturday?
Having scooped up super discounts on Black Friday (the bargain hunters’ biggest shopping day of the year), starting perhaps on Thanksgiving night, shoppers can focus instead on local stores on Small Business Saturday.
The traditional Ma and Pa store is the target of Small Business Saturday shoppers. From crafts to cookware, books to baked items, shelving to shoes and furniture to foodstuffs, local shop owners look to patrons to support their businesses.
Even as mega malls, big-box retailers and internet merchants lure customers through high-tech advertising, small businesses may rely more on customer loyalty. For this reason, the goal of Small Business Saturday is to raise awareness and draw attention to hard-working community businesses.
The Small Business Saturday website describes the occasion this way:
“A day to come together in support of the small businesses we love. The shops and restaurants that employ our neighbors and reinvest our money close to home. The businesses that are the heartbeat of our communities and local economies.”
The traditional American entrepreneurial spirit has long been driven by small businesses and local startups. Perhaps Small Business Saturday can bring back some of this emphasis by fostering targeted spending with companies that tend to reinvest in the local community.
Small Business Saturday organizers quote several convincing statistics about the economic importance of small businesses: small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms, 68 percent, spending at local small businesses actually returns to the community and that small businesses employ half of all private-sector employees. And small business are also credited with the creation of the vast majority of new jobs each year.
In other words, small businesses are still big business in America.
Small Business Saturday is expected to become an annual Thanksgiving Weekend occasion, sandwiched neatly between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Several national and international organizations have endorsed Small Business Saturday, including American Express OPEN (the small-business arm of AMEX).
Additional Small Business Saturday supporters include the 3/50 Project, Business Matchmaking, Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, Count Me in, Destination DC, E Women Network, Facebook, Girls Inc., Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, LA Inc., NAWBO, National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center, NYC & Company, NYC Department of Small Business Services, San Francisco Convention & Tourism Bureau, Score, Women Impacting, Public Policy, Women Presidents’ Organization, Women’s Leadership Exchange and Yelp.