Small Business Saturday: The Business Owners’ Guide

Small Business Saturday: The Business Owners’ Guide

Small Business Saturday: The Business Owners’ Guide

Talking about the importance of the small businesses in our community to the crowd that reads this blog feels a lot like preaching to the choir. As small business owners, you understand the vital role you and your Main Street colleagues play in keeping communities alive and thriving.

Living out west, I spend a lot of time off the beaten path traveling through small towns from the seat of my motorcycle and have noticed that those communities with a healthy and thriving small business district are the cities and towns that seem to be strong and growing. Those with a Main Street that’s boarded up seem to be withering away. I’m convinced that Main Street represents the lifeblood of every city and town across the country.

Of course, you know that.

While it’s always a great time to support local small businesses, there is one day in particular when the spotlight shines on local retailers, salons, and restaurants like yours: Small Business Saturday.

What is the Purpose of Small Business Saturday?

Each year, there’s one day designed to put the focus on local small businesses rather than big box retailers. As you know, small businesses often struggle in competing with larger chains that can afford to have tighter profit margins and lower prices. 

On Small Business Saturday, local retailers attract hundreds of thousands of consumers who are getting a head start on their annual holiday shopping. They get the gifts they need, and entrepreneurs get the sales. Everybody wins!

Who Founded Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express (known for its personal and small business credit cards) in 2010. It was such a hit that the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in support of the day to shop local, and now every state participates.

Organizations can sign up as Neighborhood Champions and can set up events and activities on Small Business Saturday and throughout the year. Many shoppers deliberately do their shopping on this “holiday” as a way to not only support local businesses but also snag great deals.

When is Small Business Saturday?

Every year, Small Business Saturday falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, that’s Nov 27, 2021. 

Marketing Resources for Small Business Saturday

You can sign up to participate in Small Business Saturday on Amex’s site. There, you’ll find marketing materials for participating businesses, including storefront signage, printable signs, and social media posts.

You can also get your business on the Shop Small map so shoppers know you’re participating.

Some cities have the local Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Administration office participating with pop-up tents, giveaways, and promotions.

How Your Small Business Can Benefit from Small Business Saturday

There’s really no reason not to participate in Small Business Saturday since the goal is to support small businesses like yours! Whether your business is on the Main Street of your town or somewhere else, it’s a great opportunity to attract foot traffic as people hit local stores for Shop Small deals.

Tips for Success this Small Business Saturday

While American Express offers some resources, you’re really only limited to your own creativity on this special day.

If you use social media to promote your business, be sure to include hashtags like #ShopSmall and #SmallBusinessSaturday to get more attention.

Consider giving away samples of your products or holding a giveaway to bring in more customers. And promote whatever you’re doing on Small Business Saturday to your email list.

How Small Business Saturday Makes a Difference

Small Business Saturday reminds us all of how important small businesses are to the local economy. Even shoppers who normally frequent big box retailers may, if only for the day, opt to shop at boutiques and mom-and-pop restaurants. This surge in sales can get a business that’s otherwise struggling (especially through these COVID-19 times) through the holiday season.

Supporting Small Business at the Cash Register

Although you may be a small business owner, you’re also a consumer. You have choices regarding where you shop, what you buy, and whether or not you shop in the Main Street businesses where you live. May I suggest you spend a little of your hard-earned money on Saturday patronizing the small, locally-owned businesses in your community?

Avoid the chain restaurant on Saturday and visit (or DoorDash) the local restaurant down the street, shop at a local merchant, and don’t spend all your money at the big box store or online. 

There’s nothing wrong with the big box store, but it’s the local businesses that support the high school football team, the charity coat drives, and the local food pantries. Did you realize the support you and your small businesses peers give to local non-profit organizations is roughly 250% more than the support they get from large national chains? 

I get it. It’s hard to walk away from the big discounts offered on Black Friday or Cyber Monday to support local merchants. Yet, it just makes sense for small business owners to invest in the success of their small business peers by doing a percentage of their shopping with the locally-owned businesses in their local communities.

Patronizing Locally-Owned Small Businesses Keeps Money in Your Community

Something else you might already know, but is worth repeating, for every $100 you spend at a locally-owned business, $68 dollars gets recirculated in the community compared to only $43 if you shop at a national chain.

What’s more, independent businesses (businesses like yours) are where the jobs in our country are really created. Two out of every three net new jobs created in the United States are created in small businesses. And, roughly half of our friends and family work in those businesses. Spending money locally keeps profits local and strengthens the community with jobs and investment.

Supporting Small Business in the Time of COVID

If you’re limiting the amount of time you spend outside the home during the winter months out of concern that the pandemic variants will continue through the holiday season, you can still support local businesses virtually, with a gift card or a delivery service. Many small businesses are offering curbside pick-up and other creative tactics to help their customers during this time. You’re likely doing the same.

As a small business owner, I hope you’ll think of ways you can support your colleagues this holiday shopping season and that you’ll share your successes from Small Business Saturday with us.Looking for financing for your company to buy supplies for the holiday season? Check out small business loans through Nav.

This article was originally written on November 24, 2020 and updated on October 21, 2021.

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