Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, days of frenzied shopping mostly at the big retailers. The hustle and bustle of these impersonal transactions is a stark contrast to the quieter more customer focused neighborhood shops. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Small Business Saturday, which was started by American Express in 2010. The goal was to encourage people to “shop small” and spend more of their dollars at local businesses. The Small Business Administration, which helps Americans start, build, and grow their businesses, became a co-sponsor in 2015. People have embraced and supported this day, spending a record $17.8 billion in 2018, but this year small businesses need your support more than ever.
You might be surprised to learn that according to size standards set by the Small Business Administration, depending on the type of business, a small business may have as many as 500 employees and revenue in the tens of millions. These standards determine if a business qualifies for assistance from the Small Business Administration. Collectively, businesses with less than 500 employees account for 48% of American jobs and 43.5% of GDP, so are an essential part of the U.S. economy. Obviously, the local businesses in your neighborhood do not have hundreds of employees, possibly only a handful, but goods they stock may come from the larger U.S. small businesses that manufacture and distribute them.
2020 has been particularly hard on small businesses of every kind due to the catastrophic effect of the pandemic. Even those that found a way to keep their businesses alive online while people stayed home, struggle in the shadow of the giants. Small businesses are generally financially fragile, without much in the way of emergency cash resources to carry them through a crisis like a pandemic. Marketing budgets are likely small and may be confined mainly to social media and word of mouth. They depend on good service and this word of mouth to survive, but when their doors were forced to close, nearly 100,000 of them closed for good.
Fortunately, many neighborhood businesses did survive, but just barely, and are open for business again; you can give them a much needed boost on Small Business Saturday. Sixty-two percent of those that have survived so far say that if consumer spending does not return to what it was before the pandemic by the end of the year, they will join the thousands that have already gone out of business. Small Business Saturday, November 28th, comes just in time to start the ball rolling, but a one-day event will not be enough to keep them in business forever. However, it is the perfect opportunity for people to discover some of their amazing neighborhood shops and see what they have to offer. In fact, there are many good reasons to support those small businesses, such as more money staying in the community, creation of local jobs, more personal customer service, and often locally made, one-of a kind products. So go out there and buy local and when the day is over, don’t forget about them. Instead, let this day be the beginning of a habit of shopping small all year.
Read more about Small Business Saturday at these links:
Small Business Saturday – November 28, 2020 Includes the history, a timeline, and statistics