Small businesses often are overlooked by customers who are enticed by larger companies, and this can adversely affect the local economy in more negative ways than might appear on the surface level. The rise of shopping malls and large chain stores such as Walmart and other retailers has caused irreversible damage to Main Street in the last half-century or so, and it’s paramount to remember the importance of supporting local small businesses. After all, why should we not celebrate the spirit of enterprise and entrepreneurship, as exemplified by small business owners who take the risk of following their dreams? After all, it’s a common thing for politicians to talk about supporting Main Street over big business, and how small business owners often face greater hardships than larger companies. Since Small Business Saturday is held on the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day, it falls right during the peak shopping periods of the year.
History of Small Business Saturday
The 1960s saw the rise of the American shopping mall, and the decades since have seen large chain retailers further cementing their position in terms of taking over the retail sphere and displacing smaller, family-run businesses. This model has spread further throughout the world, and chain retailers have been usurping small businesses’ market share worldwide in the last few decades. That being said, the difference is most stark in countries like the US, where small businesses have often been obliterated within a year or two of some large chain retailer coming to town and opening up shop – in India and much of Southeast Asia, shopping malls coexist with small shops largely because they serve different markets – as has been noted in the past, the corner shop is not going anywhere anytime soon in India because customers can purchase items on credit, and that’s just something that you’ll never be able to do in a Walmart or BigBazaar. In the United States, the context is different, though. Different economic realities combined with different cultural ideas about how small businesses operate has ultimately been more harmful to those businesses in developed countries than in developing economies. And with all of the odds stacked against them, small businesses in the US need a day in their honor.
Small Business Saturday is a relatively recent phenomenon – the first one was in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts in 2010 as a counterpart to Black Friday (which features big box retailers, and its anti-consumerist counterpart, Buy Nothing Day targets big business). Small Business Saturday was originally sponsored by American Express and the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation. From the very start, the day has been promoted through advertising on both social media and more traditional means such as television and radio advertisement. Since 2013, Small Business Saturday has also existed in the UK following the success of its American counterpart.
Celebrating Small Business Saturday
You may be wondering how to celebrate Small Business Saturday since it is possible that you might have been lead to believe that small businesses are a thing of the past. That, however, is not true, and you can dispel such ignorance by observing Small Business Saturday. As a consumer, you can choose to spend your money at local small businesses on this day rather than going to the big box retailers at the local mall. After all, the best way to support small businesses is to go and spend money at them rather than somewhere else. You can also tell your friends to do the same, perhaps making a point of organizing a shopping day where you only visit small, local enterprises instead of chain stores. While you may or may not end up paying more, it’s important to remember that spending your money at a small business generally puts more money into the local economy than if you’re spending that money in a chain store.
Some small business owners find that Small Business Saturday is a great time to run marketing promotions, as they can further capitalize on the increased foot traffic (from the already busy holiday shopping season), and on their online traffic. If you own a small business, you can run some promotion for the day, and otherwise put up a post on your Facebook page. If your small business does not have a Facebook page nor any other online presence, you should seriously consider taking Small Business Saturday to go ahead and do that.
So support your local economy, and go out and buy things from a small business today.