If we don't support local independent businesses who will? Use them or lose them which is why Small Business Saturday is so important to me. When you support small businesses, you also contribute to your local economy. The more successful small businesses are, the more likely they are to grow and stimulate innovation within your community, which is really exciting!! When you support our small businesses you are helping create jobs, you invest in entrepreneurship, you help a family put food on the table, you help a student pay for college, and of course you make a positive impact in the world we live in!
I decided to build a business out of passion and I, like many entrepreneurs, got into business with big dreams and a very small budget. Large corporations benefit from name recognition and huge advertising campaigns that can reach every household in the country. As a small business owner, we have minimal marketing resources due to lack of funds for marketing, so we hope word-of-mouth promotion from friends, family and loyal customers will help to create awareness.
Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010 creating awareness through commercial advertising and using social media to help get the word out. It is a day that encourages people across the country to support small business and as a small business owner myself, I can’t thank them enough for this. Small business Saturday is the biggest shopping day (bigger than Black Friday) for Stickboy Coffee and many other small businesses.
Five years ago, American Express started the Small Business Saturday campaign and last year consumers who said they were aware of the campaign spent an estimated $5.7 billion with independent merchants. All that is great and we are headed in the right direction, but it's not enough.
As an entrepreneur, you know your business is not just a business; your business is also an extension of who you are as a person. When your company is booming your confidence is sky-high and when your company is struggling, so does your self-belief. When your company struggles, the old saying, "It's not personal, it's business" doesn't apply. It may be business--but it also feels incredibly personal to every entrepreneur finding to keep their dreams alive.
As an entrepreneur, you get that. As an entrepreneur myself, I get it.
What can you do on Small Business Saturday? It’s easy. Eat at a neighborhood restaurant. Shop at a nearby boutique. Buy from a locally owned mom-and-pop instead of a national corporation. What's the worst that can happen? You might spend a little bit more. Your meal might be good but not great. That's okay. You helped a family put food on the table and you made a positive impact on the world we live in.
What’s my point in all of this? My point is to pick a small business and give it a chance. Put aside your price/value calculations and your belief in the survival of the fittest and take a chance on a small business owner. Give an entrepreneur the opportunity to win you over; that’s all we can ask for.
We can't save every struggling company, but together we can all make a meaningful difference in our communities; and as entrepreneurs, we can make a meaningful difference for other entrepreneurs.
At the heart of every small business is a person with goal and a dream. Ultimately the day isn't about commerce--it's about people. On Small Business Saturday, give another person a slightly better chance of realizing their dream. Actually, make Small Business Saturday everyday so that entrepreneurs can realize their dreams!
Buy small. Most of all, buy personal because truthfully that’s what it is!!
Tom (aka Stickboy)