Experts' CornerNews and Events

Kick-off the Holiday Season on Small Business Saturday

Get Ready for Small Business Saturday! The past two years may have been challenging for many businesses. However, shoppers are eager to do their part to turn things around. While it will take time and effort to make the day a success, participating can be a profitable way to kick- off the holiday season. The shopping holiday, which American Express launched in 2010 during the Great Recession, is now an annual tradition that celebrates small businesses’ contributions to the people they serve and local communities. 

We all came together on Saturday to prove that shopping small really does add up,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, Chief Marketing Officer at American Express. “We are thrilled to report that shoppers are increasingly making a conscious effort to Shop Small and support their local communities, and over the past ten years, consumers reported spending an estimated total of more than $120 billion at small businesses on Small Business Saturday.”

  • Americans spent nearly $20 billion on Small Business Saturday in 2020
  • American Express: an average of $0.67 spent at local businesses stays in the community
  • 70 percent of consumers have heard about Small Business Saturday

The Economic Impact of Small Businesses
Operating a small company is a daring proposition that requires an entrepreneurial spirit since half of the new businesses fail within the first five years. However, thriving businesses that overcome the odds have a tremendous impact on the nation’s economic growth and vitality. Since the economy cannot expand without small businesses, it’s essential to support these enterprises that connect with our lives on multiple levels. Although the U.S has about 6 million companies, 5.8 million of them are small businesses that employ 34 million people.

  • Small businesses create 65 percent of all new jobs
  • The majority of businesses in the U.S. have 50 or fewer employees
  • Businesses with 20-499 are the best job creators (Congressional Research Service)

Getting the Word Out
Although loyal customers frequent neighborhood establishments regularly, remember to extend a special invitation to stop by on Small Business Saturday. Studies have shown that people respond positively to companies that support a worthy cause. This day will be an opportunity for the community to use its buying power to help their favorite businesses. You’ll also want to promote the day in-store and online. Other tips include:

  • Display “Small Business Saturday” signs on display windows and inside the store
  • Post messages on the website
  • Host or promote events that benefit the community
  • Promote day and gift ideas on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest

Partner with Other Businesses
Business owners are also customers who frequent other establishments in the community. Consider partnering with other businesses to hold an event that will bring in new customers and drive foot traffic. Invite the local press or send out a press release to make the collaboration newsworthy. Create a festive environment to make it enjoyable for people to attend and purchase holiday gifts and other merchandise. Remember, Small Business Saturday is a nationwide event. It is a great occasion to advertise online sales and reward shoppers with special incentives that will require a return visit or shopping online.

Free Marketing Materials and Resources
Organizations across the country have come together to share information with consumers, businesses, and local chambers of commerce. American Express plays an instrumental role in connecting owners to resources that can assist them with promoting the day. Resources include a “Shop Small” map that helps consumers locate participating businesses and templates for emails and social media posts. The Small Business Administration has also developed marketing materials that will assist anyone who wants to participate. Links are posted below.

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