What is Small Business Saturday?

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Small Business Saturday is a community event celebrating the retail businesses and services that support your community. It’s most popular date is the Saturday just after Thanksgiving. Think of it as supporting your community’s business owners who provide jobs, as well as their customers, who love to buy locally. You can support your community’s economy by participating in this valuable holiday and help those small businesses continue to provide jobs and services and by paying taxes that contribute municipal services, such as parks, roads, and schools.

This event was initiated by American Express to give a community’s small businesses a boost during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. Their Rally My Neighborhood site offers many tools for businesses to advertise their products and services online.

There are also many offline strategies that can be effective for promotion of your town’s businesses, as well as fun for everyone. Coupons are popular and can be used for restaurants, spas, dog grooming, and other services and goods. If weather permits, you can turn part of Main Street into a shoppers’ arcade, or convince an owner to offer up a large, centrally located hall. Entice interest with a municipal celebration featuring a performance, refreshments, and balloons.

Why is it important?

Small businesses are an integral part of a community. When retail areas thrive, prosperity spreads as wages and tax revenues rise. Community morale grows when local businesses prosper — self-respect and optimism can be contagious.

Truth or Consequences, NM (TorC) has formalized a plan for community improvement. The city has a history of economic hardship but fresh optimism, solid planning, and coordinated follow through are turning that around.

Organization is just one area in which stakeholders can work to revitalize their business center. TorC’s Board of Directors is comprised of volunteers who focus on strengthening relationships between the city, county, and the Chamber of Commerce.

iStock_000051921234Small Business Saturday is a promotional resource for local merchants. In the TorC example, marketing a quality image of the city’s goods and services locally and nationally is emphasized. Advertising, retail promotions, special events, and marketing campaigns are carried out by local volunteers.

Truth or Consequences has an unemployment rate of 5.9%, significantly below New Mexico’s average of 6.7%. It looks like the particular community’s efforts are working and events like Small Business Saturday could be adopted by other towns to help them prosper.

How can you, as a consumer, support Small Business Saturday?

Get involved in organizing your Small Business Saturday and ask others to help – schools, churches, neighborhoods and organizations. Planning, activities, entertainment, photography, social media postings can all be a part of this event. Your wonderful pictures and stories will memorialize your town and its small businesses and can serve to bring more visitors and business to the place where you live. It can also create a sense of community cohesion that had previously been lacking.

Truth or Consequences is a success story about how a community with limited resources worked together as volunteers to improve their downtown community.  For more success stories click here. If you’re a business owner, visit American Express’ online tools at Promote My Business to find more details and resources.

Here is a list of 5 things you can do to make Small Business Saturday work.

  1. Get a committee of several volunteers together.
  2. Notify the Mayor you would like to celebrate this seasonal event and request to reserve street space or a public space for the activities.
  3. Plan events like storytelling, musical performances or theatrical performances to be produced by volunteers.
  4. Coordinate with small business owners and managers and set a time for an open house like “11:00 AM to Noon.” During that time, owners and managers should offer refreshment and music and tell a story about themselves or their business.
  5. Volunteer documenters should be on hand to record the event and post it on social media.
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Paul Trujillo

Paul Trujillo

Paul Trujillo is a Product Marketing Manager at Informatics specializing in Inventory Warehouse Management and Supply Chain product lines. His nearly 15 years of experience has put him at the forefront of industry technology and developing trends.