Rieva Lesonsky: Small Business Saturday -- Reasons to participate and where to shop

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November 22, 2019

Black Friday -- the day after Thanksgiving -- has long been a huge shopping day for most Americans. In 2005, a new shopping day emerged—Cyber Monday. And five years later -- in 2010 another shopping day was created sandwiched between the two — Small Business Saturday, which is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Small Business Saturday (SBS) was started by American Express as a way to “encourage people to Shop Small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.” And what a success it’s been. In nine Saturdays, Small Business Saturday has generated $103 billion in sales.

This year Small Business Saturday occurs on November 30.

But the impact of Small Business Saturday goes beyond one shopping day a year. It spawned the Shop Small movement, which encourages Americans to shop at local small businesses, eat at local restaurants and do business with local small business owners year-round. American Express says when you Shop Small, approximately 67 cents of every dollar stays in the local community.

Why participate?

SBS encourages people to do business locally — in other words, with their neighbors. It’s a great way for people to actually meet the business owners in their cities.

As we all know, people do business with people they know, like and trust. Participating in Small Business Saturday gives you the opportunity for your community to get to know you better.

If you haven’t already signed up, don’t worry. Even though SBS is next week, you can go here and create your own marketing materials in minutes.

Marketing your Small Business Saturday participation

Because there’s so much outside marketing about SBS, you don’t have to introduce consumers to it; you just need to let people know you’re participating.

Local media — radio, TV, newspapers and bloggers — love SBS because it highlights community. Contact your local media outlets and let them know what you’re doing. Can you tie your SBS efforts in with support for a local cause or charity?

Use your social channels to promote SBS at your business. The hashtag is #ShopSmall, so be sure to mention that in your social posts.

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