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Small Business Saturday

Mon, 11/21/2011 - 6:05am
Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO

First, there was Black Friday. Then Cyber Monday. Now, you can continue the shopping festivities with Small Business Saturday.

The second annual Small Business Saturday, this year on November 26th, is a day dedicated to small businesses. Sandwiched between two of the busiest shopping days of the year, Small Business Saturday aims to direct consumers to their local small businesses to help fuel their local community.

Begun as a corporate campaign, (American Express gives customers a $25 card credit for participating), this day has the potential to help small businesses compete with the big box stores. This holiday season, small businesses are preparing to be squeezed by a depressed economy, fewer patrons, and competitive bargains at the large chains. Without the bulk discounts and deep pockets of larger businesses, small shops often just can’t compete. I’m guilty myself of occasionally frequenting the big box stores for the convenience of a one-stop shop.

While the big box stores can be convenient and cheaper in many cases, they’re not always the most efficient. At the chain stores, if you’re lucky enough to find a salesperson in the right department, rarely will they have the years of experience that a local shop usually has. Chain stores are also laid out to encourage patrons to spend more. And a major draw of big box stores is the price—not service, quality, or selection.

Small businesses are integral to local economies. Local, small businesses are more invested in their community—more of what you spend will automatically go back into the local economy than the same amount at a big box store through taxes, payroll, and other local purchases.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses pay 43 percent of the total U.S. private payroll, produce 16.5 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms, and have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years. Small businesses also employ half of the U.S. workforce.

Small manufacturers rely on the local economy to give their new products a chance. Local retailers may have the time and the ability to take the chance on a new product, without the need to adjust a national sales plan. Initiatives such as Small Business Saturday promote awareness in purchasing. By considering local businesses, consumers can help improve the national economy as well as improve the landscape of the American manufacturing industry.

Consider joining the movement to support your local businesses. This year, more than 200 organizations have signed up as sponsors, and 1.5 million people have friended Small Business Saturday’s Facebook page to show their support. Last year, Amex reported a 28 percent increase in sales over the previous year at small businesses that accept American Express.

Small Business Saturday puts a spotlight on local businesses, but they’re ready for customers the rest of the year as well. Next time you’re in business for a new appliance, or just want to grab a cup of coffee, consider going local.

Let me know if you’re pledging to shop small at Rachel.Immel@advantagemedia.com or post below.

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